For Journal #2, read the “Writing about Stories” handout in “Course Readings” and use that reading to discuss ONE of the “Elements of Fiction” that you find in Hurston’s story (“Sweat”) in “Course Rea

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For Journal #2, read the “Writing about Stories” handout in “Course Readings” and use that reading to discuss ONE of the “Elements of Fiction” that you find in Hurston’s story (“Sweat”) in “Course Readings.” Note: the reading and handout are attached here as well.  You have two (2) attempts to upload your journal (the final draft will be graded). Please follow submission the guidelines.

For Journal #2, read the “Writing about Stories” handout in “Course Readings” and use that reading to discuss ONE of the “Elements of Fiction” that you find in Hurston’s story (“Sweat”) in “Course Rea
CHAPTER 5 Writing about Stories fiction has long been broken down and discussed in terms of specific elements common to all stories, and chances are you will be Focusing on one or more of these when you write an essay about astory. ELEMENTS OF FICTION The elements of fiction most commonly identified are plot, character, point of view, setting, theme, symbolism, and style. Ifyou find yourself wondering what to write about astory agood place to begin isisolating these elements and seeing how they work on areader and how they com bine to create the unique artifact that isaparticular story. Plot While on some level we all read stories to find out what happens next, in truth plot isusually the least interesting of the elements of fiction. Stu dents who have little experience writing about fiction tend to spend too much time retelling the plot. You can avoid this by bearing in mind that your readers will also have read the literature in question and don’t need a thorough replay of what happened. In general, readers just need small re minders of the key points of plot about which you will write, and these should not be self-standing but rather should serve as springboards into analysis and discussion. Still, writing about the plot sometimes makes sense, especially when the plot surprises your expectations by, for instance, rearranging the chronology of events or otherwise presenting things in nonrealistic ways. When this happens iPastory, the plot may indeed prove fertile ground for analysis and may he the basis of an interesting papel: Character Many interesting essays analyze the actions, motivations, and develop ment of individual characters. How does the author reveal acharacter to the reader? How does acharacter grow and develop over the course ci a 1197 1198 READING AND WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE story? Readers have to carefully examine what insights the text provides about acharacter, but sometimes readers have to consider what’s left out. What does the reader have to infer about the character that isn’t explicitly written? What does the character refrain from saying? What : secrets do characters keep from others, or from themselves? These ques tions can be fertile ground for analysis. Although the most obvious char- ‘1 acter to write about isusually the protagonist, don’t let your imagination ‘ stop there. Often the antagonist or even aminor character can be an interesting object of study. Keep in mind, too, that characters can start out as antagonistic figures and experience atransformation in the eyes of the narrator or other characters, or in the eyes of the reader. Your job in writing apaper is to consider these transformations and try to understand why atext explores these complex character developments. Usually not alot has been said and written about less prominent charac ters, so you will be more free to create your own interpretations. (Play wright Thm Stoppard wrote avery successful full-length play entitled Rosencrantz and Guildensten’z Are Dead about two of the least developed characters in Hamlet.) Point of View Related to character isthe issue of point of view. The perspective from: which astory is told can make abig difference in how we per Sometimes astory istold in the first person, from the point of view of of the characters. Whether this isamajor or aminor character, we mu always remember that first-person narrators can be unreliable, as they d not have access to all vital information, and their own agendas can skew the way they see events. The narrator of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” (page 14) seeks to gain sympathy for ahideous act • ‘ of revenge, giving us aglimpse into adeeply disturbed mind. Athird person narrator may be omniscient, knowing everything pertinent to2! story; or limited, knowing, for instance, the thoughts and motives CC – protagonist but not of any of the other characters. As you read astory, ask yourself what thpoint of view contributes and why the atlorm have chosen to present -the story from aparticular perspective.’ Setting Sometimes asetting ismerely the backdrop for astory, but often plays an important role in our understanding of awork. John U chooses asmall, conservative New England town as the settlng of story “A & P” (page 294). It isthe perfect milieu for an expio values and class interaction, and the story would have avery WRITING ABOUT STORIES 1199 it1eaning ifithad been set, say, in New York City. As you read, Ihow significant asetting isand what itadds to the meaning ry Remember that setting refers to time as well as place. “A &P” ut three young women walking into asmall-town grocery store jn only bathing suits, an action more shocking when the story was ‘-i in 1961 than itwould be now (although itwould doubtless still -yebrows in many places). erne tottoies have at least one theme—an abstact concept such as war, friendship, revenge, or art—brought to life and made real Dugh the plot, characters, and so on. Identifying atheme or themes is of the first keys to understanding astory, but itisnot the end point. ‘some attention to how the theme isdeveloped. Isitblatant or subtle? actions, events, or symbols make the theme apparent to you? Gen erally the driving force of astory isthe authors desire to convey some igabout. aparticular theme, to make readers think and feel in acer way. First ask yourself what the author seems to be saying about -‘-ior war or whatever themes you have noted; second, whether you with the author’s perceptions; and finally, why or why not. Some students get frustrated when their instructors or their classmates begin to talk about symbolism. How do we know that an author intended symbolic reading? Maybe that flower isjust areal flower, not astand-in for youth or for life and regeneration as some readers insist And even if itisasymbol, how do we know we are reading itcorrectly? While it’s true that plenty of flowers aiesimply flowers and while students should iden tify symbols with c’tution the more prominent an image in astory the mo;e likely itis meant to be read symbolically Caiefttl writers choose their words and images for maximum impact, filling them with as much r meaning as possible and inviting their readers to interpret them. When . John Steinbeck entitles his story “The Chrysanthemums,” we would do well to ask ifthe flowers are really just plants or ifwe are being asked to jlook for agreater significance. Style The final element of fiction isolated here isstyle, sometimes spoken of under the heading of tOne or language. Atext may strike you as sad or lighthearted, Formal or casual. Itmay make you feel nostalgic, br itmay 4 1200 READING AND WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE make your heart race with excitement. Somewhat more difficult, though, isisolating the elements of language that contribute to aparticular tone or effect. Look for characteristic stylistic elements that create these ef fects. Is the diction elevated and difficult, or ordinary and simple? Are the sentences long and complex, or short and to the point? Is there dia logue? Ifso, how do the characters who speak this dialogue come across? Does the style stay consistent throughout the story, or does itchange? What does the author leave out? Paying close attention to linguistic mat ters, like these will take you far inyour understanding of how aparticular story achieves its effect. STORIES FOR ANALYSIS Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (page 76) ‘; and Kate Chopin s The Story of an Hour which we have annotated below Both stories exploi eissues of women sidentity and freedom The questions following the annotated story ask you to analyze how the ele r ments of fiction work in these two stoiies •‘ 1-,,t KATE CHOPIN [1851-1904] The Story of an Hour Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with aheart trouble, ii great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the’ •‘ news of her husband’s death. ,J’’ It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sen-” tences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. Itwas he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by asecond telegram, and had• hastened t c-.-
For Journal #2, read the “Writing about Stories” handout in “Course Readings” and use that reading to discuss ONE of the “Elements of Fiction” that you find in Hurston’s story (“Sweat”) in “Course Rea
Karen Pitt Summary / Analysis Exercise Summary Analysis / Interpretation / Synthesis An objective summary is one-third the length of the original essay foregrounds the main idea(s) (the thesis statement) includes key words and phrases mentions the supporting points the writer uses is in your own words, thereby avoiding plagiarism follows the author’s pattern of organization uses the information in the original essay avoids coloring the information with personal opinion lists the source or the original essay—the title and the author’s name Note: an objective summary conveys information, not opinion Guidelines for analysis, interpretation, and synthesis What is the purpose of the reading? What issues/themes are being raised in the reading? What questions do you have about the issues/themes being highlighted? What questions could you ignore? How do you interpret the meaning and significance of the issues / themes being raised in the text? What do you infer about the actions of the character (s)? What do you conclude about the text? What does the conclusion at to or say about the text? How does this text relate to other texts? Note: you may explore any one of the questions above, so that you may flush out your analysis for depth and insight. A one sentence response does not allow deep analysis.
For Journal #2, read the “Writing about Stories” handout in “Course Readings” and use that reading to discuss ONE of the “Elements of Fiction” that you find in Hurston’s story (“Sweat”) in “Course Rea
Karen Pitt Summary / Analysis Exercise Summary Analysis / Interpretation / Synthesis An objective summary is one-third the length of the original essay foregrounds the main idea(s) (the thesis statement) includes key words and phrases mentions the supporting points the writer uses is in your own words, thereby avoiding plagiarism follows the author’s pattern of organization uses the information in the original essay avoids coloring the information with personal opinion lists the source or the original essay—the title and the author’s name Note: an objective summary conveys information, not opinion Guidelines for analysis, interpretation, and synthesis What is the purpose of the reading? What issues/themes are being raised in the reading? What questions do you have about the issues/themes being highlighted? What questions could you ignore? How do you interpret the meaning and significance of the issues / themes being raised in the text? What do you infer about the actions of the character (s)? What do you conclude about the text? What does the conclusion at to or say about the text? How does this text relate to other texts? Note: you may explore any one of the questions above, so that you may flush out your analysis for depth and insight. A one sentence response does not allow deep analysis.

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