Short Fiction Research Essay
Compare and contrast two short stories: “ A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor and “ Where are you going, Where have you been?” by Joyce Carol Oates.
1. Compare and contrast two writers’ handling of a similar theme. Determine which author’s expression of theme you deem most impressive and defend your selection. Offer clear reasons to illustrate why you find the works impressive.
2. The point of view from which we learn about the events of a story impacts our understanding of the story. Analyze the role of the narrator as it functions in two of the stories we’ve read. How does the unique perspective of this participant, observer, or nonparticipant impact our understanding in each?
3. In her essay "Writing Short Stories," Flannery O’Connor claims, "in most good stories it is the character’s personality that creates the action of the story." She states, "if you start with a real personality, a real character, then something is bound to happen." Apply this statement as it relates to two of the stories we’ve read. Do the characters seem to you to be real people, or do you see them as mere vessels for the author’s views?
4. Analyze how humor functions in two of the stories we’ve read. What is funny? How is humor implied by each text’s style or tone? Does humor help set forth a theme or reveal character? How does comedy affect our understanding of the texts?
Research component: In addition to your primary sources (the two short stories), you will include analysis of:
An additional outside "text" (a work of art of your choosing currently on display at theMuseum), and source material to create an argument that addresses one of the following prompts. Support your argument with textual evidence, the artwork of your choosing, and statements from 3-5 different art/literary critics.
*An additional "text"-any piece of art currently at Museum of Art that relates in some way to the short fiction we’ve read. ( I will upload an additional “text” in additional materials)
* 3-5 different critical sources to support your argument and add breadth and depth to your analysis.
* Required to earn a passing score: Include a works cited page (in MLA format)
• Avoid merely making topical connections.
• As you decide how you will include this additional source, consider the notion of composition. What connections can you make between this source and the text(s)? Perhaps you see a thematic link or an aesthetic similarity? Perhaps your reaction to the artwork is similar to your experience at some point during the reading of the text? Maybe the artwork evokes in you a sentiment similar to one of the stories read?
• Rather than haphazardly include the additional source in your essay, be thorough and critical in your analysis of how it applies to the pair of stories you’ve chosen: observe and infer.
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