see attachmentPart One: Compose a paragraph that applies a Marxist reading to any of the
stories from this week. Be sure to ask yourself (and answer) the kinds of
questions discussed in this weeks lecture.
Part Two: Which of the characters this week did you feel the most
sympathy for? Who did you most identify with? Why? Who did you feel the
least sympathy for? Why?
Part Three: In The Open Boat, lines of philosophy about mans fate and
his reward for trying hard are repeated throughout. Quote a line of this story
that stands out to you as expressing something philosophical about life. Do
you agree with the statement? Why or why not?
STORIES FROM this Week: Naturalism/Realism
1. Jack London: To Build a Fire
2. Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron
3. Stephen Crane: The Open Boat
Questions for Discussion
1.Why are the men in the boat? What has happened before the story opens? In what time period is the story set?
2.How does each man view the sea? How does each man’s knowledge, or lack of knowledge, of the sea help or
hinder the group’s chances of survival?
3.Why do the people on shore not help the men in the boat?
4.What do you think the last line means? What does Crane imply by writing that the men “felt that they could then
be interpreters”? What will they interpret?
5.What might the open boat symbolize?
6.What are the relationships among the seven parts? What is the focus of each part, and what does each part add to
the story?
7.Why does the story need to be so long?
Questions for Reflection and Writing
1.Write a detailed description of one event, one day, or even just one hour of your life. Describe the scene and other
people, and transcribe your thoughts and dialogue as needed to convey a rich picture for your readers.
2.Analyze the relationships among the characters in the story. What motivates each man? What strengths and
limitations does each man have? What conflicts do you see in the story, and how does each conflict get
3.Could something like this story happen now, or has technology advanced far enough as to prevent such a
situation? Research to find out what technology has been developed to protect sailors, fishermen, and
recreational boaters. Find out, too, whether situations like the one described in “The Open Boat” have occurred
4. Willa Cather: Pauls Case
Questions for Discussion
1.What might be the real reasons for the teachers’ hostility toward Paul?
2.What is the difference between the two Pauls—the Paul at school and the Paul at Carnegie Hall? Why is he
such a different person at the two places?
3.Why is Paul snobbish? Where does this attitude come from?
4.Why does Paul follow the singer?
5.Why can Paul not accept his Cordelia Street neighborhood? What is wrong with it, from his point of view?
6.We see the events of the story only from Paul’s point of view. How accurate are his perceptions of his
teachers and of his father? How does Cather’s choice of this limited point of view shape the story?
7.What do flowers, especially the flowers in the hotel room and the carnations Paul buys before he kills
himself, symbolize in this story? Why does he bury one of the carnations in the snow?
Questions for Reflection and Writing
1.Do you agree that Paul’s was a “bad case” (Paragraph 36)? Write a brief essay defining “bad case.” Consider
to what extent you share Paul’s fantasies. Are you also a “bad case”?
2.Would Paul have been happy if born into the life he wanted? Write an essay in which you draw on details
from the story to discuss Paul’s character. Argue that Paul would have been happier, less happy, or
unchanged, if he had been born into a wealthy family.
3.How realistic is this story? Research facts about teenage rebellion, crime, or suicide, and write up your
findings in a research report.
Citation In case In-Text citation is use.
Perkins, George, Barbara Perkins. American Literature Since the Civil
War – 2015 edition. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 11/2008.
VitalBook file.

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