10 Grade Summer Reading Assignment

10th Grade Summer Reading Assignment
Conscience and Conflict in American Literature
Great American Short Stories
Written Assignment Due: August 26th
“I love short stories because I believe they are the way we live. They are what our friends tell us, in their pain
and joy, their passion and rage, their yearning and their cry against injustice.”
― Andre Dubus
I used to write things for friends. There was this girl I had a crush on, and she had a teacher she didn't like
at school. I had a real crush on her, so almost every day I would write her a little short story where she would
kill him in a different way.
- Stephen Colbert
Short story selections to read, annotate, and respond to by completing the
assignment below:
(Each short story can be located in your copy of “Great American Short Stories)
1. “Young Goodman Brown,” by Nathanial Hawthorne
2. “The Tell Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allan Poe
3. “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” by Bret Harte
4. “A White Heron,” by Sarah Orne Jewett
5. “The Goophered Grapevine,” by Charles Waddell Chesnutt
6. “A New England Nun,” by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
7. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
8. “To Build A Fire,” by Jack London
9. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Bierce
10.“The Egg,” by Sherwood Anderson
pg. 1
pg. 13
pg. 49
pg. 84
pg. 93
pg. 104
pg. 115
pg. 157
pg. 171
pg. 231
Classic Short Story/Literary Terms and Devices to review and apply in your written responses:
Basic elements of a plot: exposition, central conflict, inciting incident, rising action, complications,
conflicts, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement.
Basic character analysis terms: protagonist, antagonist, characterization, indirect and direct
characterization, foil, flat and round characters, static and dynamic characters.
Types of conflicts: man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. nature, man vs. society; internal compared to
external conflict.
Setting and Atmosphere
Point of View
Figurative Language: Symbolism, Metaphors, Similes, Personification, Allusions
Imagery – including sensory imagery
Irony – verbal, situational and dramatic irony
Tone (writer’s attitude toward the subject matter or the audience – not the same as mood!)
You have ten stories to read. For each short story, please annotate your text and select two (2) of
the questions provided below to answer. So in other words, for each short story, you will have a
two- paragraph, typed, response, covering two different questions. Each of your responses must:
1. …be typed, 12 point font, double space – free of grammar, proofreading, etc. mistakes.
2. Each of your paragraphs must include a topic sentence that simply does NOT repeat the question,
but gives a preview of your response.
3. Your paragraphs must be focused, and organized, employing logical transitions between ideas within
the paragraph, but YOU DO NOT have to link the paragraphs together with a transition.
4. Your paragraphs must include one or two textual support examples. Do not include more than two
examples of textual support – this would simply be a sign that you are not providing your own
commentary, but rather simply another’s words a bit excessively!
5. For each set of two paragraphs, please note which story you are writing about and the number of the
question you are addressing. Your assignment will then look like this:
“The Egg”
#3 (your one paragraph typed response to question #3)
#12 (your one paragraph typed response to question #12)
6. Correctly employ appropriate literary terminology (see the list on the previous page). This does not
mean you should populate your paragraph with a million and one terms, but rather, use them
purposefully and strategically to help convey your ideas.
On the next page, you will find the questions you are to select from among - - please respond only
to these questions. Choose a variety of questions; while one question may be used more than once
of course, please do not select the same two over and over again – that simply demonstrates a lack
of effort and creativity and will likely influence your final grade.
After you return, we’ll make sure everyone is enrolled in turnitin.com and you can submit your work
to turnitin.com for this assignment. No grade will be provided without an acceptable turnitin.com
Questions to choose from - - -two per short story.
1. What particular contribution to the story does the setting make? Is it essential, or could the story have
happened elsewhere?
2. What are the primary characteristics of the author’s style? What specific techniques are used most often
within this story and play the most significant role in conveying a theme or message?
3. What do you believe to be the story’s central purpose? Does it achieve this purpose?
4. Who is the protagonist and what conflicts or complications must he or she overcome?
5. What use does the story make of chance and/or coincidence? Are these occurrences used to initiate, to
complicate, or to resolve the story? Are they improbable?
6. How is suspense created in this story? Is there a mystery or a dilemma?
7. Is there a developing character? Are the changes great or small? What role does this transformation play in
helping to convey a theme?
8. Does the theme reinforce or oppose popular notions or beliefs about life in general?
9. Does the theme reinforce a specific political or social agenda likely present during that time period (you can
tell by the list when each story was published.)?
10. What symbols are used to help carry the story’s meaning, purpose or theme?
11. How does irony play a role in this work of literature? Is it used predictably or unexpectedly?
12. Is the climax predictable, or difficult to identify? Do you feel it’s more of a turning point for a particular
character or simply a peak in emotional intensity, or both?
13. What is the author’s attitude toward his or her main character? Toward the subject in general?
14. Choose any one sentence from the story that seems to resonate with you, then explain the reason for your