"In a Grove" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Japanese) 7 pgs
Various witnesses give testimony in a murder--but strangely enough, all of the major participants claim to have committed the murder! Which are lying and why? Genre: realistic historical Setting: late medieval Japan
Writing Choice 1: Present a case solving the murder. What does each person expect to gain by claiming credit for the murder? Your response must rely heavily on the testimony given--cite specific testimony by using quotes.
Writing Choice 2: Discuss the differences in culture presented in the text. Americans want a solution; the Japanese love this story as it is. Does the abandonment of the omniscient narrator in favor of a more distant and objective style reflect the Buddhist theme of "the uncertainty of the world?" It may be helpful to view the woodcutter's version of events as depicted in the Kurosawa film.
"In the Shadow of War" by Ben Okri (Nigerian) 3 pgs; pg 970 Literature Text, Holt, Rinehart, Winston Series, Sixth Course (Purple cover)
Copy-and-paste this address: http://www.nexuslearning.net/books/Elements_of_lit_Course6/20th%20Century/Collection%2012/In%20the%20Shadow%20of%20War.htm
The United States has not had prolonged warfare on its own soil since 1865, but many countries have almost constant war. War affects everyone harshly. In this story, what a child witnesses may change him forever. Genre: realistic historical Setting: A village in modern Nigeria
Writing Choice 1: The radio plays a symbolic role in Okri's story. Find all the references to the radio and then write a short essay explaining its significance.
Writing Choice 4: Write an essay discussing the irony of Dave's choices in "The Man Who was Almost a Man"
"Nine Lives" by Ursula K. Le Guin (American) not found online, but find it on the I-Drive
The ultimate individualist--a miner colonist on a distant uninhabited planet--finds he has to deal with the ultimate herd-mentalities --a clone team of ten.
Genre: science fiction Setting: a remote mining planet
Writing Choice 1: Does similarity in a group negate individuality?
Writing Choice 2: Which is the most significant effect of total immersion in a group: The handicapping the individual or the strengthening of the group? What significance does this story have for the understanding of individuality vs. group membership? What kinds of societies have stressed one over the other?
In an imaginary city, everyone lives the perfect life. There will, however, be a price to pay. Still, most people accept it… Genre: Fantasy Setting: another world
Writing Choice 1: What is a utopia? Does Omelas meet the definition? What is the narrator's opinion of Omelas? Why do some walk away? What implied criticism of our own society are evident in this story? Give examples of this problem in modern-day society. Are there things in our society that should cause us to walk away?
Writing Choice 2: In this story of responsibility and humanity, how do you gauge the value of one versus many? Is the one right to accept suffering? Or is the other right to walk away?
Writing Choice 3: Can this story also be interpreted as symbolic of inner psychology? Are people sometimes asked to lock up their inner child to achieve success in the world?
"Patriotism" by Yukio Mishima (Japanese) Not found online, but find it on the I-Drive. help
A strange man-like creature is found. Is it an angel or something else?
Genre: magic realism Setting: A small town in South America
Writing Choice 1: Gabriel Garcia Marquez often employs vivid imagery in his writing. In an essay explain how "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" uses imagery and for what purpose. You must use specific quotes from the story and explain how they enhance the story's overall theme through imagery.
Writing Choice 2: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is often considered to be a work of magic realism . In an essay explain how this story functions as a work of magical realism using specific quotes from the story as well as a complete definition of magical realism.
Writing Choice 3: Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses Biblical allusions in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" to discuss the role faith and belief has in our lives. In an essay explain how this story demonstrates how faith affects our lives. Using specific quotes from the story, connect passages to quotes from the Bible, specifically focusing on the overall thematic purpose of Marquez's story.
Writing Choice 4: Peoplein the village feel empathy for the Spider Woman but not for that angel. Why do people react differently to the two?
"Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, pg , Literature Text, Holt, Rinehart, Winston Series, Fifth Course (red cover)
He's still chasing her when warning bells should have been going off.
Genre: realistic fiction Setting: high society
Writing Choice 1: How would "Winter Dreams" be different if it maintained the exact same rags-to-riches plot line, but with a woman protagonist instead of a man? Would such a plot be possible for a short story written in 1922? What would Fitzgerald have to change to make "Winter Dreams" work with a female main character?
Writing Choice 2: Compare "Winter Dreams" and The Great Gatsby in their portrayals of the dark side of the American Dream. Fitzgerald has said that "Winter Dreams" was the beginning of his idea for his most famous novel, but The Great Gatsby's plot departs from "Winter Dreams" in a couple of key ways. How does the introduction of Nick Carraway as the frame narrator affect The Great Gatsby's tone? What are the similarities and differences between Dexter Green and Jay Gatsby? Why might Fitzgerald have made these changes in revising "Winter Dreams" into a much longer novel?