Reminder: when reading these stories, try to give yourself time to read each story at least twice because the authors typically pack a lot of information into just a few pages. 

In order to get full points for your discussion post this week, respond to questions about 4 of the following stories within your post with 350+ words.  In order to get full points for responding to others this week, you must respond to at least 2 other students’ posts with a meaningful reply (150+ words)

For each post you should incorporate textual evidence as well as analysis and explanation about why you have the interpretation of the story that you do


Make sure to label the story and author that you are answering questions about.


“Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

Give your response of 350+ words including quotes to support your points.

“The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara

Give your response of 350+ words including quotes to support your points.Repeat this so that you have your 4 story responses.Each story has multiple questions.  Make sure to address each question within your response.  You can incorporate all of them into a few really well-written paragraphs and include textual evidence.  Or, you can also answer each question as a separate paragraph by also using some textual evidence.  The structure is up to you but what is important is that you have thoughtful answers to these questions.

Remember to include direct quotes in your responses.Kate Chopin Story of an Hour

  • “The Story of an Hour” is a very short story with little action or dialogue.  do you see the length of this story as a strength or weakness?  Explain.
  • Do you think Brently Mallard physically abused his wife?  Did he love her?  Did she love him?  Exactly why was she so relieved to be rid of him?  Can you answer any of these questions with certainty?
  • Was the story’s ending unexpected or were you prepared for it?  What elements in the story foreshadow this ending? 
  • What is the nature of the conflict in this story?  Who, or what, do you see as Mrs. Mallard’s antagonist?
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman  The Yellow Wallpaper

    • Consider the setting of the story, including the nursery. How does this outer world mirror the narrators situation and ordealher inner world?  How does the narration mimic the narrator’s mental state? Consider her style of writing, what she includes, what she omits, and her tone.
    • What is Johns attitude toward his wife, especially in terms of her illness? What words does he use to refer to her? While thinking about this issue, consider the symbolism of the nursery.
    • Identify some of the ways in which the conflict betweethe narrator and her husband is established.Consider what the two characters represent.  What are the narrators feelings toward her husband? How do they change throughout the story?
    • Would you consider the woman in the story a reliable narrator? If not, how does this affect your reading of the story?  How does the wallpaper function in the story? What purpose does it serve in the narrative and in understanding the narrator?  What does the creeping figure in the wallpaper represent?
    • Kate Chopin The Storm

      • Look at the progress of the storm through the five parts of the story, then trace the stages of the story’s plot.  How does the progress of the storm parallel the developing plot?  How does the weather help to create the story’s atmosphere?  How would you characterize this atmosphere?
      • In what respects does the storm cause the events of the story?  List specific events that occur because of the storm.  Is the presence of the storm essential to the story?
      • In what sense does the storm act as a character in the story?  What other aspects of setting are important to the story?
      • The storm sets in motion the chain of events that lead to the characters’ adultery.  Do you think the storm excuses the characters in any way from responsiblity for their actions?
      • Sherman Alexie This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona

        • In paragraph 1, readers are told that Victor lives on a reservation.  What details elsewhere in the story establish this setting?  What associations does this setting have for you?  Do you think the story could take place anywhere else?  In addition to various locations on the reservation, the story’s settings include an airplane, a trailer in Phoenix, and a road through Nevada.  What does each of these settings contribute to the story’s plot?  What do you think the story’s title means?
        • How would you characterize the story’s mood or atmosphere?  How do Thomas’s stories help to create this mood?  How do they help to establish his character?  Do the flashbacks to the two men’s childhood add something vital to the story?  What purpose do these flashbacks serve?
        • In Native American culture, the storyteller holds an important positions, telling tales that transmit and preserve the tribe’s basic beliefs.  Do you think Thomas’s stories serve such a function?  Or, do you think that he is, as Victor characterizes him, simply “the crazy storyteller who talked to dogs and cars, who listened to the wind and pine trees” (para. 170)?
        • Toni Cade Bambara The Lesson

          • In what ways, specifically, is Miss Moore an outsider in her own community? Which of her beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors distance her from the children? From other adults in the community? Is she able to overcome these barriers to full communication with her students and with Sylvia in particular?
          • How, exactly, would you characterize Miss Moore? Can you identify attitudes and beliefs that connect her to African-American intellectual, political, or social movements of the late 1960s or early 1970s? (I realize that it may be difficult given that most of you were not born then, but you may have read about the period or seen movies about these decades, such as Selma.)
          • Why does Sylvia feel both anger and shame while looking at the F.A.O. Schwartz toy store on Fifth Avenue? What exactly is she angry about?  Sylvia connects the shame that she feels upon entering the toy store to her feelings when she and Sugar “crashed” the Catholic church during a Mass. Why? How are these two events related and why does Bambara establish this connection?
          • Why, in your view, does Bambara choose to have Sylvia narrate the story instead of Miss Moore?
          • Why doesn’t Sylvia go with Sugar to spend the money at the end of the story? What exactly is she attempting to think through on her own?
          • Does her separation from her classmates and her desire to think things through alone indicate that she has learned or is beginning to learn the “lesson”?  What is the lesson Bambara thinks she should learn?
          • William Faulkner A Rose for Emily

            • Emily is clearly the story’s protagonist.  In the sense that he opposes her wishes, Homer is the antagonist.  What other characters – or what larger forces – are in conflict with Emily?
            • Some critics have suggested that Miss Emily Grierson is a kind of symbol of the Old South, with its outdated ideas of chivalry, formal manners, and tradition.  In what sense is she also a victim of those values?
            • The narrator of the story is an observer, not a participant.  Who might this narrator be?  Do you think the narrator is male or female?  How do you suppose the narrator might know so much about Emily?  Why do you think the narrator uses we instead of I?
            • This story takes place without a linear timeline – events are told out of order from the way they actually take place.  Why do you suppose Faulkner presents these events out of their actual chronological order?  And despite the story’s confusing sequence, many events are foreshadowed.  How does foreshadowing enrich the story?
            • Shirley Jackson The Lottery

              • What associations does the word lottery have for you? Are they relevant to the story?
              • Tradition is very important to the townspeople in this story.  Why do these people continue this tradition even though the consequences are deadly?  Can you think of any traditions that also have a dangerous affect on people?
              • Were you surprised by the ending of the story? If not, at what point did you know what was going to happen? How does Jackson foreshadow the ending? Conversely, how does Jackson lull us into thinking that this is just an ordinary story with an ordinary town?
              • In what way does the setting affect the story? Does it make you more or less likely to anticipate the ending?  What are some symbols in this story?  Why is the “black box” battered, for example?

              • This story was published in 1948. Are there any cultural or historical events that Jackson might be commenting on here? Is this JUST a story about this particular time and place, or is she trying to say something important about human nature?

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