Assignment for Midterm Essay:
For your midterm essay, you will write a paper of at least 750 words in which you
discuss the connections among three stories from the following list.
Since this is a formal essay, you will want to be sure to include an introduction with
thesis, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Choose 3 from the following list:
Chinua Achebe: "Civil Peace" (10)
Sherman Alexie: "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" (36)
Aimee Bender: "The Rememberer" (134)
Angela Carter: "The Werewolf" (188)
Lan Samantha Chang: "Water Names" (244)
Julio Cortazar: "A Continuity of Parks" (356)
Christine Granados: "The Bride" (501)
Ha Jin: "Saboteur" (631)
Hector Hugh Munro (Saki): "The Toys of Peace" (962
Kurt Vonnegut: "Harrison Bergeron
Hisaye Yamamoto: "The Brown House" (1411)
Here are some possibilities for ways to connect the stories.
OPTION 1: Find connections among the three stories you have chosen by using the
elements of fiction. For example, you may see a similarity in theme (but a great
difference in writing style), or you may find characters who are related in some way.
The setting (time and place) of the stories may be similar, but the author's way of
using the setting may be different. You may see a similarity in the way the authors use
symbolism or imagery (or irony or foreshadowing).
OPTION 2: Organize your paper around your answers to some of the general
questions for the reading responses. For example, you may find that the stories you
have chosen all teach you something about history, philosophy, art, sociology,
psychology, science, math, etc. You may identify with the characters in three of the
stories, either because of your own experiences or those of people you know well. You
may find that the people you would recommend these stories to have something in
common that relates to the stories.
OPTION 3: Use the handout called Specialized Approaches to Literature as a way to
find connections among the stories.
As with all papers about literature, there are a few guidelines you'll want to follow:
Avoid summary (you're writing to someone who knows the stories well).
Use quotations from the stories to illustrate the points you're making. Be
sure to mention the stories and authors in the introduction.
Use "I" if you wish (to avoid being overly formal), but make sure that
you're writing about the stories, not just yourself (though a combination of
the two is fine).
Write in present tense when discussing the stories.
Give the paper an original title, and be sure to put your name, the date, and
the assignment at the top of the page.
Cite outside sources using MLA format. (Generally, it's best to avoid
consulting sources for a paper of this kind, but if you use sources, you must
cite them to avoid plagiariam.)
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