Monday, September 29, 2008

Shea, Roy, Danielle, and Lucio

Many of the texts we have read this semester have explored prejudice and social constraints. Choose one or more of the stories we have read this semester and analyze the prejudice presented and the outcome/epiphany (of lack thereof) that comes from the exploration of the prejudice. To support your claim, be sure to refer to the literary techniques and metatextual concepts within the story (or stories) you are discussing.

Sonnee, Matt, Kristin, and Alex

The beginning of the story "Battle Royal" opens with the narrator's grandfather saying something that affects the main character for the rest of the story. How do similar events affect other main characters in other stories?

Joe, James, Micah, and Aaron

Consider "Cathedral" and "Battle Royal." Between the two stories, compare the three main characters (Ellison, the Blind Man, and the Husband) and how they become more self-aware (or self-perceived). Also, compare the underlying themes of racism and stereotypes in both stories.

Michael, Cody, Justin, Aaron B

In a few of the stories that we've read thus far this semester, there has been a subtle theme of a charatcter or group of characters having an outward appearance of being good, upstanding citizens, but then there is a discovery that reveals these appearances to be false. Discuss a couple of stories where this happens and how the author shows the evil nature and depravity of the human condition.

Heather, Alejandro, Jordan, Santiago, Edward

1. In Ellison's "Battle Royal," how is the main character invisible to the people around him? What caused him to be this way?

2. How do you feel the battle royal could be symbolic to the character's life or society as a whole?

3. Was the character following in his grandfather's footsteps. Did this make him a "traitor"?

4. How does the character see his community/grandfather/himself as the brass-alloy tokens that he reached for in the battle?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Filmic Conventions and Literary Adaptation

Please take a look online for some information about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  Based on the information (whether it concerns plot, author biography, or critical interpretation) you learned, what intersections between Conrad's story and the segment of the film story Apocalypse Now that you watched in class today are of greatest interest to you?  Why?  Why do you think Coppola would reinvent Conrad's classic story (indeed, an allegorical story) in the way that he did on film?  How does the film tell its story?  What are the important differences between filmic strategies and textual ones?  You might also want to address text, metatext, and subtext in your post. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Justin, Alex, Jorge, Cody, and Aaron B.'s Group

An important element in the short story is a powerful first line. Which story from this semester uses this element to introduce other story elements, such as setting, point of view, theme, symbolism, or allegory? Explain.

Micah, Jordan, Santiago, and Edward's Group

Have any of the other stories that we've read so far this term been allegorical? In general, are allegories more effective when constructed through character? Through setting? Or does it even matter?

Lucio, Michael, Shaelynn, Roy, and Danielle's Group

What literary aspects draw people into a story? What has been your favorite short story that we've read so far and why? What story has impacted you the most and why?

Joe, Kristin, Sonnee, and James's Group

Many of the stories we've read so far this term have offered insight into an author's personal history, or life, or story through their fictional story. Consider one of these author's stories. How would this story change if you were telling it (i.e., in regard to Hawthorne's story, what would your "forest" be)?

Ashley, Matt, Aaron C., and Alejandro's Group

How does the symbolism in "Young Goodman Brown" help drive the story and how does it compare to the use of symbolism in "The Appointment in Samarra"?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Short Stories

I want to thank our first presenters, first of all!  Kristin and Jordan, you both did a great job.  OK, so here's a new discussion topic for all of us.  In your opinion, what is the most important feature of a short story: plot, character(s), setting, or the ever-abstract "theme"?  Can a short story be a short story without characters?  Without a setting?  Are there any other important standard aspects of a short story beyond, or not contained within, these four elements?