Englander and Hempel Bonus Links

Bonus upon bonus:

Amy Hempel profiled by USAArtists on YouTube

Hempel’s 2006 interview in The Atlantic

Rivka Galchen interviews Nathan Englander in Bomb Magazine

Englander’s official webpage

Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” and Nathan Englander’s “In This Way We Are Wise”

Please address one or more of the following questions in your response.  Remember to keep these brief–about a paragraph or so in length.

1)  How do Hempel and Englander make their narrators’ anxiety apparent?  One way of answering this might be to look at the stories’ structural similarities — how the scenes are arranged, how transitions are handled, etc.

2)  Both of the writers are using elements from “real life.”  Englander is an American who lived for several years in Jerusalem in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Hempel’s story is dedicated to the woman who provided the model for the sick friend.  With that in mind, are these honest stories?  Why or why not?

Extra bonus points if you can come up with a relationship between “honesty” and structure . . .

Bharati Mukherjee Bonus Links

If you’re interested:

Mukherjee’s essay, “On Being an American Writer

A 2002 interview from Powells

Bharati Mukherjee’s “The Management of Grief”

Please address one or more of the following questions in your response.  Remember to keep these brief–about a paragraph or so in length.

1) How does Mukherjee reveal the enormity of the narrator’s loss over the first page and a half?

2) Is the tone consistent throughout this story?  How so (or how not), and why (or why not)?

Dinaw Mengestu’s “An Honest Exit”

Please address at least one of the following questions in your response.  Remember to keep this brief–about a paragraph or so in length.

1) Do you trust this narrator?  Why or why not?

2) What expectations are set in the first paragraph of the story?

3) How do the narrator’s feelings towards his students and his father develop throughout the piece?  Support your position with evidence from the story.

Brockmeier and Butler Bonus Links

Extra special bonus issue:

“Some Things About Kevin Brockmeier” by Thisbe Nissen in Post Road

Brockmeier interviewed in Hobart in 2007

Robert Olen Butler’s official website

Kevin Brockmeier’s “A Day in the Life of Half of Rumpelstiltskin” and Robert Olen Butler’s “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot”

Please address one the following questions in your response.  Remember to keep these brief–about a paragraph or so in length.

Do you these stories transcend their jokey premises?  If so, what strategies do the writers employ to make that happen?  If not, where do you think the writers missed opportunities to do so?

Deborah Eisenberg Bonus Links

The Atlantic interviews Deborah Eisenberg in April 2010

Eisenberg profiled on The Millions

Deborah Eisenberg’s “Twilight of the Superheroes”

Please address at least one of the following questions in your response.  Remember to keep this brief–about a paragraph or so in length.

1) Why do you think Eisenberg structured the story as she did?

2) On a sentence level, this story contains a very high number of exclamations and italicized words and phrases.  What’s the effect of this stylistic choice on you as a reader, and why do you think Eisenberg chose it?

Blog Comment Grading Policy

As promised!  Here’s the grading rubric for your blog comments.  I’ll be sending these grades to you privately each week, to reflect the quality of your blog comments and participation in our out-of-the-classroom discussion.

4:  Outstanding.  Focused analysis and, though brief, demonstrates a high level of engagement with the response questions.  Points to evidence from the text to back up claims.  Responds to more than one question and considers the previous responses of classmates (beyond indicating agreement or disagreement) in formulating answers.  Applies standard English grammar and punctuation conventions.

3:  Good.  Reasonably clear analysis, demonstrating a solid level of engagement with the response questions.  Occasionally points to evidence from the text to back up claims and may refer to classmates’ previous responses in formulating answers.   Applies standard English grammar and punctuation conventions.

2: Underdeveloped.  Shallow analysis, demonstrating brief or superficial engagement with the response questions.  Does not utilize textual evidence, or uses evidence inappropriately.  Does not respond fully to questions or consider classmates’ previous responses.  May have numerous grammar and punctuation errors.

1: Limited.  Unfocused, exceedingly brief, demonstrates little to no engagement with response questions.

0: No Credit.  The student did not submit a response.