Short Fiction Quiz and Discussion

In this section you will be required to complete the following tasks:

1. Carefully read the stories and assignments outlined in The Readings folder. We will have quizzes and writing assignments based upon these assignments so take your time and take notes.

A. For this section, please read the following stories in the course text The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction Compact 9th Edition by Ann Charters
ISBN-10: 1457665557 ISBN-13: 978-1457665554:

  • Sherman Alexie’s biography and story, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” pg. 9
  • Toni Cade Bambara’s biography and story, “The Lesson,” p. 55
  • ZZ Packer’s biography and story, “Brownies,” pg. 740
  • John Updike’s biography and story, “A&P” p. 831

2. Watch the interview with author, Sherman Alexie, using the web link provided.

3. Complete the quizzes on the required readings. You will only have 15 minutes to complete the assignment, so please be familiar with the readings and the literary terminology we covered in Section 1. Will send you course sign in info to complete quizzes. Please message me after you accept so I can send you course info sign in.

4. Re-read the pdf on “Plot” in section one, carefully noting the way conflict may help shape a story. Conflict drives a story. It forces the characters into action, and the suspense the conflict creates keeps the audience reading to find out what happens.

In literature there are two general types of conflict:

Internal conflict takes place inside a character when they are forced to wrestle with a decision or choice. Internal conflicts can deal with a character trying to figure out some aspect of their identity or they may involve a character having to make a difficult choice.

External conflict takes place between characters or between a character and the outside world. External conflicts can manifest as disagreements between spouses, fistfights between siblings, struggles between employees and their bosses, the possibilities are endless. External conflicts can also manifest as a character facing some sort of challenge: the rent is due, there is a mountain to climb, a crime to commit, a test to take, etc.

Many stories will contain either internal or external conflicts, but the best stories will utilize a blend of both.

For this week’s discussion board, I want you to specifically identify the internal and external conflicts of three stories in the reading list, using quoted material as evidence to your claims where possible. Look over the pdf on Plot in Section 1 and use this to help you identify whether the conflicts in the stories are character vs. character, character vs. society, character vs. nature, character vs. fate, or character vs. machine. Notice how the stories this week tend to focus on conflicts of race and social class. You should take at least a paragraph to outline your analysis of the conflict in each story and you should utilize quotes from the text with MLA style documentation. Once you have completed this writing assignment, I would like you to first turn it in to the Discussion Board Pre Post drop box, where it will be checked for originality and plagiarism, and then turn it in to the Section 3 Discussion Board below that. You do not need to wait after submitting it to the drop box, simply submit it to the drop box, then to the discussion board.

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