Literature an Introduction to Reading and Writing 8th Edition

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Reading, Responding to, and Writing about Literature.

What Is Literature, and Why do We Study It?

Types of Literatures: The Genres.

Reading Literature and Responding to It Actively.

Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace.


2. Fiction: an Overview

Modern Fiction.

The Short Story.

Elements of Fiction I: Verisimilitude and Donnée.

Elements of Fiction II: Character, Plot, Structure, and Idea or Theme.

Elements of Fiction III: The Writer’s Tools.

Raymond Carver, Neighbors.

Edwidge Danticat, Night Talkers.

William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily.

Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried.

Alice Walker, Everyday Use.

Plot: The Motivation and Causation of Fiction.

Writing about the Plot of a Story.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Plot in Faulkner’s“A Rose for Emily”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Plot in Fiction.

3. Structure: The Organization of Stories.

The Structure of Fiction.

Formal Categories of Structure.

Formal and Actual Structure.

Laurie Colwin, An Old-Fashioned Story.

Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal.

Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill.

Eudora Welty, A Worn Path.

Tom Whitecloud, Blue Winds Dancing.

Writing about Structure in a Story.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Structure of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.”

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Plot and Structure.

4. Characters: The People in Fiction.

Character Traits.

How Authors Disclose Character in Literature.

Types of Characters: Round and Flat.

Reality and Probability: Verisimilitude.

Willa Cather, Paul’s Case.

William Faulkner, Barn Burning.

Susan Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers.

Joyce Carol Oates, Shopping.

Amy Tan, Two Kinds.

Writing about Character.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Character of the Mother in Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Character.

5. Point of View: The Position or Stance of the Narrator or Speaker.

An Exercise in Point of View: Reporting an Accident.

Conditions That Affect Point of View and Opinions.

Determining a Work’s Point of View.

Mingling Points of View.

Point of View and Verb Tense.

Summary: Guidelines for Point of View.

Alice Adams The Last Lovely City.

Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Ellen Gilchrist, The Song of Songs.

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery.

Jamaica Kincaid, What I Have Been Doing Lately.

Lorrie Moore, How to Become a Writer.

Writing about Point of View.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Bierce’s Control Point of View in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Point of View.

6. Setting: The Background of Place, Objects, and Culture in Stories.

What Is Setting?

The Literary Uses of Setting.

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street.

Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Portable Phonograph.

James Joyce, Araby.

Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl.

Irwin Shaw, Act of Faith

Writing About Setting.

Illustrative Student Essay:

The Interaction of Story and Setting in James Joyce’s “Araby”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Setting.

7. Style: The Words That Tell the Story.

Diction: The Writer’s Choice and Control of Words.

Rhetoric: The Writer’s Choices of Effective Arrangements and Forms.

Style in General.

Ernest Hemingway, Soldier’s Home.

Alice Munro, The Found Boat.

Frank O’Connor, First Confession.

Mark Twain, Luck.

John Updike, A & P.

Writing about Style.

Illustrative Student Essay:

Mark Twain’s Blending of Style and Purpose in Paragraphs 14 and 15 of “Luck.”

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Style.

8. Tone: The Expression of Attitude in Fiction.

Tone and Attitudes.

Tone and Humor.

Tone and Irony.

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour.

Leslie Marmon Silko, Lullaby.

Americo Paredes, The Hammon and the Beans.

Mary Yukari Waters, Aftermath.

Edith Wharton, The Other Two.

Writing about Tone.

Illustrative Student Essay: Kate Chopin’s Use of Irony in “The Story of an Hour”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Tone.

9. Symbolism and Allegory: Keys to Extended Meaning.






Allusion in Symbolism and Allegory.

Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes.

Anonymous, The Myth Of Atalanta.

Anita Scott Coleman, Unfinished Masterpieces.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown.

St. Luke, The Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.

John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums.

Writing About Symbolism or Allegory.

Illustrative Student Essay (Symbolism): Symbols of Light and Darkness in “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall”.

Illustrative Student Essay (Allegory): The Allegory of Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown ”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Symbolism and Allegory.

10. Idea or Theme: The Meaning and the Message in Fiction.

Ideas and Assertions. Ideas and Issues. Ideas and Values. The Place of Ideas in Literature. How to Find Ideas.

Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson.

Anton Chekhov, Lady with Lapdog.

Ernest J. Gaines, The Sky Is Gray.

D.H. Lawrence, The Horse Dealer’s Daughter.

Irene Zabytko, Home Soil.

Writing About a Major Idea in Fiction.

Illustrative Student Essay: Toni Cade Bambara’s Idea of Justice and Economic Equality in “The Lesson ”.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Ideas.

11. A Career in Fiction: Four Stories by Edgar Allan Poe, with Critical Readings for Research.

Poe’s Life and Career.

Poe’s Work as a Journalist and Writer of Fiction.

Poe’s Reputation.

Bibliographic Sources.

Special Topics for Writing and Argument about Poe.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1839).

The Masque of the Red Death (1842).

The Black Cat (1843).

The Cask of Amontillado (1846).

Selected Criticism of Poe’s Stories for Research

12. Ten Stories for Additional Enjoyment and Study.

Robert Olen Butler, Snow.

John Chioles, Before the Firing Squad.

Stephen Crane, The Blue Hotel.

Stephen Dixon, All Gone.

Andre Dubus, The Curse.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper.

Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Had to Find.

Tillie Olson, I Stand Here Ironing.

Gaius Petronius Arbiter (Petronius), The Widow of Ephesus.

Joy Williams, Taking Care.

12A. Writing about Literature with the Aid of Research

1. Writing and Documenting the Research Essay on Fiction: Using Extra Resources for Understanding.

Selecting a Topic

Setting up a Bibliography

Online Library Services

Important Considerations about Computer-aided Research

Taking Notes and Paraphrasing Material

Documenting Your Work

Strategies for Organizing Ideas in Your Research Essay

Illustrative Research Essay: The Structure of Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”.

Commentary on the Essay

Special Topics for Studying and Discussing How to Undertake Research Essays



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