In this unit, students will explore great works of American literature and consider how writers reflect the time period in which they write. They will write two literary analysis papers and also work in groups to research and develop anthologies of excellent American stories.
- Students read and analyze stories from several 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American authors. After researching a time period, they select stories from that period to create an anthology. The readings enhance their understanding of the short story, increase their exposure to well-known American authors, and allow them to examine the influence of social, cultural, and political context.
- Students examine elements of short stories and have an opportunity for close reading of several American short stories. During these close readings, they examine the ways that short story writers attempt to explore the greater truths of the American experience through their literature.
These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.
- If you were to write a short story about this decade, what issues might you focus on?
- What defines a short story? Just length?
- To what extent do these stories reflect the era or decade in which they were written?
- To what extent are the themes they address universal?
History.com has short videos on the Vietnam War (“Vietnam” and “A Soldier's Story”).
“The Swimmer” Organizer
“The Search for Knowledge” Notes
Independent Reading Journal
“The Things They Carried” Paragraph Annotation
- Introduction to the Short Story
Lesson 2Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart
Lesson 3Point of View
Lesson 4Developing Plot
- Class, Race, and Identity
Lesson 5Dialogue and Speech
Lesson 6Race and Identity in America
Lesson 9Role of the Female Protagonist
Lesson 11Peer Review: Short Essays
Lesson 12Analytical Essays
- "The Things They Carried"
Lesson 17Read and Annotate
Lesson 18Interpretation of Symbols
Lesson 19Dialectical Journal
Lesson 20Elements of Grammar
Lesson 21Essay Structure