Reading Assignment Stories:
Zora Neale Hurston: “The Gilded Six-Bits” ; “Sweat” (Read and respond to both stories.)
F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Babylon Revisited” OR “Winter Dreams”
Ernest Hemingway: “Hills Like White Elephants” and one of the following stories: “In Another
Country” OR “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
Commentaries (read and respond to one -only have to choose one of these):
Zora Neale Hurston: “What White Publishers Won’t Print”
Alice Walker: “Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View”
Your response to each story should be at least 200 words (but will probably be longer) and should show that you have read the story carefully. You should mention the names of characters, details from the story that support your response, incidents in the story that affect your reading of it, etc.
Use the word “I”.
Questions for Reading Responses:
Use these questions below to guide you as you complete your reading responses. Note that you must
respond to the question about the most important element of fiction (since these elements are essential to
the art of the short story) and to the question about your favorite quotation (or quotations), since these
quotations reveal the author’s style (and will be useful for your final essay). I suggest that you choose only a few questions to answer in your response–but make the response a paragraph (or more)–don’t number your responses. You will probably notice that some of the questions are similar and that some of the responses may overlap–that’s fine. Your response should reflect your own thoughts and analysis of the story. Your response to each story should be at least 200 words (but will probably be longer) and should show that you have read the story carefully. You should mention the names of characters, details from the story that support your response, incidents in the story that affect your reading of it, etc. If you use a source, you must be sure to cite it.
*1. What is the most important element of fiction in this story (theme, setting, plot/conflict, character, point of view,
style)? Why did you choose this element? If you had trouble deciding, explain why. Please support your choice–
don’t just say that you thought character was most important. You need to show that you understand something
about the elements of fiction–that you have read the material in the textbook and on the handout I provided.
2. What did you like about the story? What did you dislike? Why?
3. Who is your favorite character? Is he or she like you in any way? Would you make the same decisions (or react in
the same ways) in the same situations as this character? Why or why not? Which characters remind you of people
4. What did you learn about history, society, art, literature, philosophy, science (etc.) from this story? What research
might you do to help you understand the story better?
5. What did you learn about life from the story?
6. In what ways do you identify with the story?
7. How would you describe the writer’s style or voice? (Style: “the characteristic way an author uses language to create literature” ) Style includes “sentence length and complexity, word choice and placement, and punctuation” (1738). Style also includes use of irony, symbolism, figurative language, etc.
Here’s an interesting checklist of literary style that you might find helpful: Checklist: Elements of Literary Style
*8. What are your favorite sentences, passages, words, etc. from the story? (You must include at least one quotation, since you will be using some of these when you write your final.) Explain your choice.
9. What would you tell a friend about this story?
10. Who would you recommend this story to and why?
11. What value does this story have for you?
12. What connections do you find between the life of the author and his or her work?
13. What questions did you have after you finished the story?
14. What words did you look up?
15. If there is a commentary, what did you learn about the author and story by reading it?
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