English 1302



First, consider your options:

You have some choices here! So read through carefully. Once you choose an attack angle (Option A, B, C, or D below – only choose one!), compose a 300-500 word, multi-paragraph, edited and polished response using your own opinions (first person allowed if it’s relevant), and evidence in the form of textual references and quotations. Use the prompts outlined below as a way to brainstorm ideas – don’t treat them as just a list of questions to be answered.

Like Chopin and Steinbeck best?

  • Your first two options are based on the “The Story of an Hour,” “The Storm,” and “The Chrysanthemums”. In these classic short stories, we encounter three marriages, mainly from the perspective of the wives. These marriages look from the outside (and perhaps by one spouse on the inside) like typical happy couplings. But we learn in each that relationships are not that simple, perhaps because people are not that simple.

E1 PW Option A:

  • How does Chopin’s interpretation of marriage compare to your own? How do you feel about the characters in her short stories? Who do you identify with more and why? Even if you disagree with Calixta’s adultery, can you sympathize with her at all? Why or why not? Does Mrs. Mallard’s character help you relate to Calixta in any way? Note Chopin’s use of literary devices such as setting, irony, symbolism, etc. to evoke these responses in the reader.

E1 PW Option B:

  • Write a comparison of the characters of Calixta and Elisa. Consider their views on womanhood and marriage as evidenced in their respective stories. Consider also a comparison of their husband’s roles in the stories and how they are similar or different and what this says about each woman’s mindset and situation. Characterization, setting, symbolism, imagery and more help Chopin and Steinbeck highlight these tensions.

Or did you fall into the Parent Trap in Groff and Cline?

E1 PW Option C:

  • Lauren Groff’s recent story collection has been described as “Anxious, Furious, and Dread-Soaked.” (Links to an external site.)We see the mother in “The Midnight Zone” wrestling with insecurities regarding her worthiness as wife and mother, as well as the fear of losing her own identity as a woman. How does Groff use such literary devices as setting, symbolism, tone, imagery, characterization, etc. to evoke all of these feelings, as well as true fear, in the story? And to what end? What message is she trying to convey about parenthood, womanhood, even personhood in 2019?

E1 PW Option D:

  • Most of our stories in this unit are centered on the female experience. But the pressures of family life also wear on men. Emma Cline’s story “What Can You Do with a General?”describes a middle-aged father, exhausted by his present, looking back on his past with ambivalence, and anxious about the future. We see him struggle to make peace with various parts of his own identity. From the outside it seems he has achieved all the dreams anyone could hope for. But he is disconnected from his children, his wife, and himself. Discuss how Cline uses all the literary devices at her disposal, especially irony, characterization, setting, (and don’t forget that allusion in the title!) to reveal something vital about fatherhood, aging, depression, whatever you see in the story! (and hope? do you see any of that?)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Review readings and notes.
  • Read through your options of prompts for this assignment. Remember, these are meant to prompt ideas. You can adapt them to whatever you want to argue in your response.
  • Choose prompt A, B, C, or D from above and, in a Word doc, compose a 300-500 word unified, multi-paragraph response that addresses all aspects of prompt. Be sure to reference literary devices and include textual examples and quotations for support.
  • Proofread and polish in the Word doc.
  • Cut and paste into the thread and submit. (You won’t be able to see others’ work until you post).

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