West Chester University

Fall 2001

Spring 2002

West Chester University

Fall 2002



Course Information
  Lit 165 Syllabus
  ENG 020 Syllabus
  About the Instructor

Notes for Introduction to Literature
  Approaching Literature
  Notes on the Art of Fiction: Early Forms
  The Short Story
  Graduate Students Define the Art of Fiction
  Bartleby the Scrivener - Questions for Analysis
  Notes on Melville
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  A Vocabulary for Short Fiction and Beyond
  Study Guide for Fiction Exam
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  A Catalogue of Poems
  Notes on Langston Hughes
  Lines of Continuity
  Poetry Take Home Exam
  The Birth of Drama
  A Doll House
  Study Guide for the Final Exam
  A Glossary of Literary Terms

Notes for Basic Writing (ENG 020)
  The Rhetorical Situation
  Essay #1 Assignment Sheet
  Workshop Assignment for Essay#1
  How to Write Descriptively
  Building a Thesis
  Overcoming Reader's Block
  Analysis and the Culture of Advertising
  Essay #2 Assignment Sheet
  Writing Effective Introductions
  Writing Effective Conclusions
  Propaganda Analysis
  Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda: A Sample Analysis
  Midterm Exam: Tips for Writing on the Spot
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Mapping the Parts of an Arugment

General Announcements
  Announcements for LIT 165
  Assignments for LIT 165
  Announcements for ENG 020
  Assignments for ENG 020


Go Exploring
  A Weblog for LIT 165
  A Weblog for ENG 020

Join the Conversation
  LIT 165 Discussion List
  ENG 020 Discussion List


~~ Notes on the Art of Fiction ~~

Defining the Short Story
Graduate Students Respond

Consider these definitions written by students in a graduate fiction workshop:

I once heard or read somewhere that a novel is a work of fiction of a certain length that has something wrong with it. Perhaps a short story is a work of fiction of a certain (somewhat shorter) length that has nothing wrong with it. I don't mean to evade the question; I think a short story can be any number of things (snapshot, an entire life, a voice coming to me from an interesting place) but the main thing it is, if it succeeds, is true to itself in all its elements.

A hard thing to define. A short story is brief, growing excitement and lingering recollection and pleasure. Kind of Wordsworthian. A good story should come back on you.

An asterisk in time.

A story is a fully realized world. After passing through this world, the reader sees his own world differently.

A story is a narrative wherein a character absorbs an experience.

I'm not really sure what a short story is. I think it's when something happens in a story that makes the reader feel he experiences something meaningful by reading it.

A short story is about something unforgettable to the writer for some reason. Otherwise, it shouldn't be written. It has characters, scenes or settings, and usually tension and conflict. It reveals the subtleties of the event by language, order/structure, and portraits. It is about place and feeling and people.

A short story is a slice of life-the thinner the better.

A short story (disregarding the type of fiction that makes comment on itself as "art") should provide some kind of continuous dream which the reader can enter, commune with, and leave having felt something.

Imagining a life you could never have imagined yourself, a life that might've killed you, or made you immeasurably happy, a life that by its very simple depiction seems ultimately strange, ultimately imagined, yet true.

Short story-an interesting little tale that is interesting, self-contained, and in some way important.

A short story is a narrative that gives the feeling of being absolutely complete despite its brevity. Its subject is humanity, and the unexpected is a favorite device although it can also march ahead like a firing squad.






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