to English 3036-01
(Click below for course reading
packets, assignments, and schedule)
This course looks at the short story as a genre. We start out with a definition of the short story.
For this definition, we need to know a little bit about the five main elements of short stories: plot, theme, character, setting,
and atmosphere (mood). Usually, one of these five main elements predominates in a short story; therefore, we will
quickly move into stories that offer good examples of each of the main elements of short stories. We will also
look at ways that point of view (narrative method) determines and shapes the elements of short stories.
In addition to the
structural elements of short stories, we will also be looking at important social issues in many of the stories, and we will
apply the appropriate critical approaches for these stories. For instance, when reading stories from Joseph Conrad
and Alice Walker, we will gather insights about “race” from a largely post-colonial theoretical perspective.
When reading about gender, of course, we will get what we can from the findings of feminist literary theory. Often,
critical approaches such as feminist literary theory and post-colonial theory overlap, which means that we will often be using
more than one theoretical approach.
Finally, as well as offering instruction about the structural and political elements of
short stories, we will, hopefully, have fun. After all, we are reading stories, and all people everywhere tell
stories. Two strangers in a room don’t stay quiet for long. People love telling stories.
People also love listening to stories. The structural and political analyses of the stories that we will make
while reading in this course will help us to enjoy what are indeed classic and interesting stories.