The topics are intended as prompts, not as questions to be answered in full. How you compose your paper is up to you: you must decide how much you need to say, and in what order, if you are to treat your topic adequately. You also should be selective: you need not analyze every page of the story you choose to write about. Focus on those passages of the story that seem most significant when it comes to your topic. Just be sure you go into enough detail, and do not ignore important passages of the story.
Format: Use 12-point Times New Roman or Courier font; double-spacing; one-inch margins; and number each page. See the requirements for papers included in the style sheet posted to Blackboard. Be sure to:
• Put your name on the paper before you turn it in.
• Give your paper a title that clearly reflects its topic and contents.
• Quote enough of the text to support the points you make. Cite each quotation
parenthetically, using a page number (that is acceptable so long as the author and title are
clear from the context).
• Avoid overly long sentences. Make or two points per sentence, not three or four or more.
• Avoid choppy or overly long paragraphs. The structure of your paper should reflect the steps of your argument.
• Complete a draft well before the due date, so that you have time to review and revise your work.
• Proofread! Topics:
Below is a list of the stories we have read since the first assignment was due. Pick one story, and write about the ways in which it treats its main character or characters. That is, write about how the characters embody certain personality traits, help the writer address important themes, and so on.
Or write in general terms about the author’s exploration of the story’s themes.
• Welty, “Where is the Voice Coming From?”: the white sniper and racist who narrates the story. Themes: race and racism; political and cultural change; community and its role in encouraging prejudice, generating rumor, and so on.
• Ellison, “Battle Royal”: the main character, whose valedictorian speech attracts the attention of white men in his home town; the businessmen and community leaders who stage the battle royal; the other black fighters.
Themes: race and racism; violence; sex.
• Bradbury, “There Will Come Soft Rains”: the house itself. Themes: technology; nuclear apocalypse.
• Proulx, “The Mud Below”: Diamond Felts the bull rider; his mother and brother; other rodeo cowboys.
Themes: family; missing fathers; sex, sexuality, and aggression; the West as living space.
• Ford, “Under the Radar”: the husband and the wife.
Themes: marriage; infidelity; career and success; violence.
• Wolff, “Hunters in the Snow”: the three hunting partners.
Themes: masculinity and male bonding; sexuality; cruelty and violence; absurdity; stupidity.
• Boyle, “Filthy with Things”: the husband and narrator; his wife, Marsha; the “cleaning lady” who takes away all the couple’s possessions.
Themes: consumer culture; possessions or “things”; house and home; valuables and junk; life in Southern California.
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