In both of these pieces, pay particular attention to word choice, patterns, and the intentional subverting of readerly expectations.
1) If we read “The School” under the expectations of strict realism, we’d be horrified. Where and how does Barthelme provide clues within the text for how to read this story?
2) Why does Barthelme use an adult’s voice to ask children’s questions? (or, why are these children so strangely adult-like?)
3) “Orientation” works with an interesting and intricate point of view/narrative distance. Why does Orozco give such detailed, personal information about everyone except the narrator?
4) What’s so significant about the repetition of the phrase “he/she/you might be let go?”