Fiction Reading Journal #1

Fiction Reading Journal #1


Read “A & P” by John Updike  Link: Questions:  What are the conflicts found in “A & P”? What are some of the external conflicts? What are some of the internal conflicts? What do these conflicts tell us about Sammy? The narrator of A & P announces the turning point or climax of the action, “the sad part of the story” (paragraph 12), adding “then everybody’s luck began to run out” (paragraph 13). Is the climax of the story as significant as this sounds? Does the tone of Sammy’s telling of the story match the events? Explain your answer.  This brief incident at the grocery store involves both younger and older females and males, married or not. Compare the male employees and female customers of different ages and statuses. How does Sammy’s view of these people suggest the theme of growing up? How does it suggest the options available to men and women in his community/society? Read “Good People” by David Foster  Link: Questions:  How would you summarize or characterize Lane Dean Jr.’s  conflicts both internal and external? How does his faith intensify or even create those conflicts and help him to resolve them?   How is your interpretation of Lane’s character and conflicts shaped by all that the story withholds from us, including dialogue; Sheri’s point of view or thoughts; explicit information about the nature of Sheri’s “appointment” or of the “it” he “wished…never happened”(paragraph 3)?  The conclusion of the story is also withheld from us. We don’t see what actually happens in the end; instead we get Lane’s “vision” of what would happen. Why has David Foster Wallace concluded the story in this way? What does this final “vision” tell us about Lane?  What different definitions of “good people” or of a “good person” are implied here? How might Lane’s understanding of what it means to be “good people” change over the course of the story? What part does the idea of hypocrisy play in the definition of “ good people”? Lane thinks of himself as a Christian, but he wants an outcome of his girlfriend’s pregnancy that goes against Christian values. At the same time, he feels  intensely guilty about wanting this outcome. Is Lane a hypocrite? Explain your answer. Is Lane a good person? Explain your answer.  Read “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway  Link: Questions:  How would you describe the main character (The American)? How would you describe the female character (the Girl, or Jig)?  Is either of these characters flat? Is either character round? Explain your answer.  Is either of these characters static? Is either character dynamic? Explain your answer.  How would you describe the relationship between the American and Jig? What conflicts do they have with each other? What conflict does each have within himself/herself?  In paragraph 40, the American says: “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig… It’s not really an operation at all.” What operation is he referring to? How do you know? What do you make of the fact that the American calls the operation “simple”? What does this tell you about him?  How does the Girl feel about the operation? Provide textual evidence to support your point. What point of view is Ernest Hemingway using in this story: omniscient, limited, or objective? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.  What is the effect of this point of view? How does it influence the way we understand the action, the characters?  Read “The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe  Link: Questions:  How would you describe the narrator and main character of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story? What conflicts, internal and external, does he experience?  Would you say the narrator is a flat character or a round character? Explain your answer.  Would you say the narrator is a static character or a dynamic character? Explain your answer.  Is the first-person narrator in Poe’s short story reliable or unreliable? Provide at least three points of evidence in supporting your answer. Who is the auditor in this story? Do you think the auditor is a real person or a figment of the narrator’s imagination? Explain and provide textual evidence to support your answer.  What devices does Poe use to create and heighten the suspense in the story? Is the outcome ever in doubt? Do you think readers would be surprised by the outcome? Why or why not?

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