Discussion #8: The Short Story

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The literary short story is a popular prose art form which delivers both a unique and entertaining story as well as a portrait of the complexities and realities of being human. Albert Camus’ “The Guest”and Leslie Silko’s “Yellow Woman” are two very different short stories from the modern/contemporary era in Western literature; each portrays a culture different from the U.S. culture but perhaps the realities and themes suggested by the stories have some application in our lives today.

Summarize what happens in each story; identify the Quest and the Test for the main character in each story. Identify the choices made by each central character and the consequences of these choices.

Finally, discuss how these stories and their themes give us perspectives that can be useful to us in our daily lives. What can you say about the themes suggested by the schoolmaster’s existence and his choices in “The Guest?” Hint: What we choose to do defines who we are. What can you say about the themes implied or suggested by the life and choices of Yellow Woman (the narrator and main character) in Silko’s story? Hint: For women, family and societal roles and obligations vs individual needs and freedoms. How are these themes universal and applicable to our lives?

PLEASE NOTE: This Discussion, our final one for this class, is worth 40 points, double the usual, and the expectations for participation are therefore increased. This Discussion will close on Wednesday evening at midnight. Please post your first contribution no later than Tuesday evening. In order to have the best possible group Discussion, we need everyone’s original input and then the responses to chew on. Read all of your classmates’ contributions, then respond to the ones that most have your interest. We will all learn more if everyone is involved in the thread from early on. FYI, Canvas tells me exactly when you come on the site and exactly when you post. I am grading you as much on your follow-up posts as on your original one.

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Guidelines for Discussion Posts:

A minimum of four posts is required for this assignment, but you are free to continue the Discussion with your classmates until the deadline, which is Wednesday evening at midnight. After that time, the Discussion will be closed and I will assign your grade based on your participation. Your first Discussion post is to be a minimum of 400 words (1 typed page) in length. Your subsequent posts will be a responses to the posts of others in the class and should total at least an additional 400 words in length; feel free to write more if you want to. You will not be able to see the posts of others until you have posted your first entry.

Write legibly and take care to get your grammar, spelling and sentences correct. Write your posts directly in Canvas in the Discussion page text box.

Please make sure that your replies to your classmates are respectful and kind, even if you disagree, and please also try to have fun with this assignment and with this course; good vibes and humor are encouraged, though our purpose is serious. Think of this class as a Quest for understanding of others and of ourselves, and think of that understanding as perhaps the most useful set of tools a person can have in life.