West Chester University

Fall 2002

West Chester University

Spring 2002

Fall 2001





Course Information
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  Lit 165 Syllabus
  About the Instructor

Notes for Effective Writing I
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Writing Descriptively
  What Makes a Good Story?
  Building a Thesis
  Notes on 'Purpose'
  Strategies for Writing Introductions
  Strategies for Writing Conclusions
  Assignment #5: Argument
  Understanding Rational Argument

Notes for Introduction to Literature
  Fundamental Questions About Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Approaching Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Notes on Four Short Stories
  The Genesis of the Short Story
  Defining the Short Story
  The Art of the Short Story
  A Vocabulary for Fiction and Beyond
  Notes on Nathaniel Hawthorne
  Responding to 'The Birthmark'
  A Guided Reading of 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Bartleby--Questions for Analysis
  A Cultural Context for 'Bartleby the Scrivener'
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Study Guide for Fiction Exam
  Billy Collins - 'Introduction to Poetry'
  A Catalogue of Poems for Study
  Approaching a Definition of Poetry?
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry: Imagery
  Readings from 'The United States of Poetry'
  The Craft of Poetry: Sound
  The Craft of Poetry: Structure
  Lines of Continuity
  Study Guide for Poetry Exam
  The Birth of Drama
  On Tragic Character
  Stepping Through 'Oedipus the King'
  Analyzing 'Oedipus the King'
  The Relevance 'Oedipus'Today
  Study Guide for the Drama Exam

Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assignments
  LIT 165 Announcements
  Lit 165 Assignments


Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Weblog for LIT 165
  Writing Assistance on the Web

Join an Online Forum
  WRT 120 Composition Forum
  LIT 165 Introduction to Literature Forum

~~ Study Guide for the Fiction Exam ~~
LIT 165 - Introduction to Literature, Spring 2002

Be prepared to recall and identify the following short stories, which were assigned and discussed in class:

The Story of an Hour
A Sorrowful Woman
Miss Brill
Bartleby the Scrivener
The Birthmark
How to Tell A True War Story
Popular Mechanics
Young Man On Sixth Avenue

Be prepared to analyze these stories in terms of the formal elements defined in class and in notes supplied on the web: plot, character, point of view, theme, symbol, irony, paradox, and ambiguity. Know the context-specific meanings and extended vocabulary associated with these terms. Be prepared to apply any of these terms to the stories we've read.

Be prepared to identify several criteria (discussed in class, supplied in notes on the web) which readers can use to distinguish literature that's worthy of study.

Be prepared to define the short story in both technical and more open-ended ways (discussed in class, in handouts, supplied in notes on the web).

Be prepared to answer questions about how several influential writers (specifically Poe, Chekhov, Conrad, Hemingway, and Carver) defined the "art" of the short story. Be prepared to differentiate their respective ideas/quotations we discussed in class (handout).


Here are some additional questions (which revisit the same material above) to help you study for the exam on Wednesday.


1. In class, we identified several qualities or criteria to distinguish great literature. List three, then choose one of these and apply it to at least three short stories assigned for study.

2. In class, we differentiated the modern form known as the "short story" from earlier kinds of prose narratives like the "tale" and the "fable." Name two qualities that differentiate the modern short story from these earlier forms. Discuss two ways in which one of the short stories assigned for study is clearly a modern short story.

3. Recall the variety of ways in which we defined the art of the short story: by using a literary glossary (supplied in class and in notes on the web); by listening to writers who helped shape the genre in its early stages (handout); by listening to writing students (handout); and by considering the short story's formal elements (character, plot, point of view). Working from any of these sources, write two alternative definitions of the short story.

4. We discussed several writers whose contribution to an understanding of the art of short story is widely recognized. Paraphrase what each of these writers have said about the art of the short story.


1. What is "exposition" and what are two stories in which it plays a key role in the plot? Briefly explain.

2. What are "conflict" and "dilemma" in the context a short story's plot? Why are they so essential to the short story? Choose three stories assigned for study and describe the conflict in each one. Choose one story whose plot leads to a dilemma for one of the characters.

3. What is the meaning of "protagonist" and "antagonist"? For each story we studied, identify the protagonist and antagonist.

4. How do you define "dynamic character," and what are three examples of dynamic characters in the short stories assigned for study?

5. How do you define "static character" and what are three examples of static characters in the short stories assigned for study?

6. List all the stories assigned for study which have a first person point-of-view, then list all the stories which have a third person point-of view. Distinguish the third-person point of view stories further (i.e., total omniscience, limited omniscience, and "objective" or "camera-eye" omniscience).

7. We defined several literary terms that apply to short stories as well as the other genres we'll study. These terms were ambiguity, symbol, theme, irony, and paradox. Define and illustrate each of these terms below with examples from the stories assigned for study.






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