Monthly Archives: October 2010

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.

Dybek and Kincaid Bonus Links

For more, try:

Our Stories’ 2009 interview with Dybek

A 1997 profile of Kincaid in Mother Jones

Stuart Dybek’s “We Didn’t” and Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”

For each story, 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) What’s the emotion most at play in Dybek’s story?  How does he achieve that effect?  (Hint: take a look at the very beginning and the very end of the story.)

2) Take a look at the long paragraph that begins on the bottom of page 182 and continues about halfway down page 183.  How does the style of this paragraph (language, rhythm, punctuation) relate to its subject matter?  What’s the effect on you as a reader?

3) “Girl” is a dialogue between two characters.  Who are they, and where is the evidence in the story to back up your claim?

4) Why do you think Kincaid chose the structure she did?

Barthelme and Orozco Bonus Links

For more, try:

Lorrie Moore’s review of a Barthelme biography

An Orozco interview with ASU’s Superstition Review

Book Review Book List

Your options for the book review assignment are listed below.  This is due with your portfolio at the end of the semester, but it’s a good idea to start reading now.  Feel free to read many and review the one you liked best!

Sherman Alexie, Ten Little Indians

Chris Adrian, A Better Angel

Kate Atkinson, Case Histories

Rebecca Barry, Later, at the Bar

Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love

Peter Bognanni, The House of Tomorrow

Grégoire Bouillier, The Mystery Guest

Kevin Brockmeier, The Truth About Celia

Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

Etgar Keret, The Nimrod Flipout

Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears

Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs

Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats

Carolyn Parkhurst, The Dogs of Babel

Zadie Smith, On Beauty

Asali Solomon, Get Down

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Jincy Willett, Jenny and the Jaws of Life

Meg Wolitzer, The Position