Fiction Reading List


Character Analysis
Indirect Characterization
Direct Characterization

Man vs. man
Man vs. nature
Man vs. self

Inciting incident
Rising Action
Falling Action

Plot Devices:

How do they affect:




Point of view
first person
third person limited
third person omniscient

Protagonist Setting
Antagonist Rising Action

Conflict (attempt to find both internal and external conflicts):

Falling Action

Identify a dynamic character and explain why that character is dynamic


Identify a static or flat character and explain what characteristic or motivation that he or she consistently maintains


Plot Devices (How is flashback or foreshadowing employed if at all)

Theme—Describe what lesson/ idea that you feel the author was attempting to encourage the reader to think about through the characters and actions in his or her story?


"Interlopers" / Elements of Fiction Quiz-open note, if you took them.

Write complete and neatly written answers on your own paper. Staple this question sheet to that paper. Also staple your notes for extra credit J

1. Which character would you describe as the protagonist and antagonist in this story Georg Znaeym or Ulrich von Gradwitz, Why?

2. Provide an example from the story that could be described as part of the exposition. Explain why it fits in that part of the plot?

3. Give an example of indirect characterization for one of the characters listed in question one. Also explain why it is an example of indirect characterization.

4. Describe both an external and internal conflict that occurs during the course of this plot. Be sure to provide the category of man vs. ____ as part of your description of the conflicts.

5. Briefly explain whether or not Ulrich von Gradwitz was a static or dynamic character.

"The Cabuliwallah"/ Elements of Fiction Quiz-open note, if you took them.

Write complete and neatly written answers on your own paper. Staple this question sheet to that paper. Also staple your notes for extra credit J

1. In what two ways does the geographical and temporal setting affect the plot, mood, or conflict in this story?

2. Describe an event from this story that might be considered part of the exposition.

3. Describe an event from this story that would be consider part of the resolution.

4. Give an example of indirect characterization of one of the main characters. Explain why this characterization is indirect.

5. True or false the protagonist is always the good guy? What are two ways to figure out the protagonist?

6. What is one sure way to figure out who the antagonist is?

"Winter Night" and "Cranes"/ Elements of Fiction Quiz-open note, if you took them.

Write complete and neatly written answers on your own paper. Staple this question sheet to that paper. Also staple your notes for extra credit J

1. Identify what you felt was a concrete symbol in "Winter Night", also explain what abstract idea for which it stood

2. What is the external cause of conflict in "Cranes"?

3. What internal conflict does the external conflict for the two friends in the story?

4. What do the cranes stand for?

Point of View Discussion
Author Point of view Test used to determine point of view Affect on reader’s interpretation characters or elements of plot within the work
Gordimer 3 rd person limited Yusuf’s perspective dominates the narrative It forced the reader to interpret the Zanip’s actions and the reactions of her children and the Yusuf’s internal conflict through the husband’s eyes only

Dialogue Activity
You can work with a partner make sure both your names are on the paper that you turn in to prove your work

Reread the dialogues that appear below and determine the following for each:

Excerpt 1
From the "Interlopers"
Dialogue first line starts on page 10
"How the whole region…"
ends on page 11 with ". . .Wolves"

Excerpt 2
From the "Cabuliwallah"
Dialogue first line starts on page 627
". . . when did you come:
ends on page 628 with ". . . no to make a profit for myself"

Excerpt 3
From the "Cranes"
Dialogue first line starts on page 35 "So how many have you killed?"
ends on page 36 with ". . .when all we know how to do is live on the land?"

Excerpt 4
From "Winter Night"
Dialogue first line starts on page
"Did she have hair like mine . . .
ends on page 44 with ". . it didn't have to be!"

Symbolism Activity

Symbol. Something that on the surface is its literal self but which also has another meaning or even several meanings. For example, a sword may be a sword and also symbolize justice. A symbol may be said to embody an idea. There are two general types of symbols: universal (conventional) symbols that embody universally recognizable meanings wherever used, such as light to symbolize knowledge, a skull to symbolize death, etc., and constructed (contextual) symbols that are given symbolic meaning by the way an author uses them in a literary work, as the white whale becomes a symbol of evil in Moby Dick (

Identify a symbol from each story

Figurative Language Activity

Refer to pages 420-421 to remind yourself of what are different types of figurative language: mainly simile, metaphor, and personification.


For each story choose a passage below. For that chosen passage:

For example:

“The roebuck, which usually kept in sheltered storm wind were running like driven things tonight (p. 6)”.

At this point in the story the main setting is established. In the "Interlopers", Saki employs a simile here. The animals in the forest that is the main setting are being compared to demonically possessed beings. Saki appears to be setting a dark and evil tone for the readers preparing them for them for the main conflict.


“The Interlopers”, Saki

“A fierce shriek of the storm had been answered by a splitting crash over their heads, and ere they could leap aside a mass of falling beech had thundered down on them (p 6)”.

“. . .with the wind tearing in fitful gusts through the naked branches and whistling around the tree trunks, they lay and waited for the help that would now bring release and succor to both parties.” P 10 “The Interlopers”, Saki

“. . .nevertheless the wine was warming and reviving to the wounded man and he looked across with something like a throb of pity to where his enemy lay, just keeping the groans of pain and weariness from crossing his lips” p 9 “The Interlopers”, Saki

“We have quarreled like devils all our lives over this stupid strip of forest . . .” P 9 “The Interlopers”, Saki

“Cranes”, Hwang Sunwŏn

Sŏngsam had difficulty swallowing a laugh. P 37 “Cranes”, Hwang Sunwŏn

“Hey why don’t we stop for a crane hunt?” p 36 Sŏngsam said suddenly. “Cranes”, Hwang Sunwŏn

“ A woman so small and plump that she knew the earth’s vastness, but not the sky’s height. Such a cold fish” pp 35-36“Cranes”, Hwang Sunwŏn

“Cabuliwallah”, Rabindranth Tagore

“What do you think father? Shola says there is an elephant in the clouds, blowing water out of his nose and that is why it rains!” p 623 “Cabuliwallah”, Rabindranth Tagore

“I lead a vegetable existence such that the call to travel would fall upon me like a thunderbolt” p 625 “Cabuliwallah”, Rabindranth Tagore

“. . . it is well known that that the words “father-in-law’s house have a double meaning. It is a euphemism for jail, the place where we are all cared for at no expense.” P. 625 “Cabuliwallah”, Rabindranth Tagore

“After the rains there was a sense of cleanness in the air, and the rays of the sun looked like gold; so bright they radiated even the sordid brick walls of out Calcutta lanes (626)”.

“A Chip of Glass Ruby”, Nadine Gordimer

“She was up until long after midnight turning out leaflets. She did it as if she might have been pounding chilies (812)”.

“She had always treated Bamjee as it is were only a mannerism that made him appear uninterested in politics . . . she passed it on to him neighbors' or family gossip (814)”.

“At once, the snap of a trap the realization came (815)”.

“When they were gone, it was as if he, who was orthodox if not devout and never drank liquor, had been drunk and abruptly sobered up (817)”.

“He had become the ghost of victim, hanging about the scene of a crime whose motive he could not understand and had not had the time to learn (818)”.

“He fell into bed each night like a stone and dragged himself up in the mornings as a beast of burden is beaten to its feet (819)”.

"He knew why he had desired her, the ugly widow with five children; he knew what way it was in which she was not like the others; it was there. Like the fact of the belly that lay between them (819)".

“Two Kinds” Amy Tan

“When my mother told me this, I felt as though I had been sent to hell.” P 23 “Two Kinds” Amy Tan

“I was like the Christ child lifted out of the straw manger, crying with holy indignity” p. 20 “Two Kinds” Amy Tan

“We’d watch Shirley’s old movies on tv as if they were training films.” P 20

“We had grown up together and shared all the closeness of two sisters squabbling over crayons and dolls.” P. 24 “Two Kinds” Amy Tan

“Winter Night”, Kate Boyle

"She had little coats of golden hair on her arms and legs" . . . and when we were closed up there the lot of us in the cold, I used to make her laugh when I told her that the her that the fur was so pretty, like a little fawn's skin on her arms, would always, help to keep her warm (p 44)".

“And then, as startling as g as a slap across her delicately tinted face, she saw the woman lying sleeping on the divan and Felicia, in her school dress still, asleep within the woman's arms (p 48)”.

On the Rainy River”, Tim O’Brien

“I felt fear spreading inside me like weeds” p 270 “On the Rainy River”, Tim O’Brien

“It was not pleasant work . . .it was like working eight hours a day under a lukewarm blood-shower (270)”.

“All around me the options seemed to narrowing, as if I were hurtling down a huge black funnel, the whole world squeezing in tight” p 270 “On the Rainy River”, Tim O’Brien

“A giddy feeling, in a way, except there was the dreamy edge of impossibility to it-like running a dead end maze (272)”.

“His eyes had the bluish gray color of a razor blade, the same polished shine, and as he peered at me I felt a strange sharpness, almost painful, a cutting sensation, as if his gaze were somehow slicing me open (273)”.

“I had a feeling that I'd slipped out of my own skin, hovering a few feet away while some poor yoyo with my name and face tried to make his way toward a future he didn't understand and didn't want.. . .It's like watching an old movie (276)”.

“. . .the trees and the sky and the water reaching out toward nowhere (276)”.

“He was a witness, like God, or like the gods, who look on in absolute silence as we live our lives, as we make our choices or fail to make them (280)”.

“Balek Scales” Heinrich Boll

“She would put her hand into this jar and give each child a lemon drops, and the children's faces would light up with pleasure, the way they used to when on feast days their mother poured milk into their coffee mugs, milk that made the coffee turn paler and paler until it was as pale as the flaxen pigtails of the little girls (p 214)”.

“My grandfather's parents had to leave the village and the new grave of their little daughter because . . . it pained them to see how everywhere the finger of justice swung falsely (p 218)”.

Theme Paragraph
Individually read the definition of theme on page 1016 of your textbook. Return to the stories read so far. Choose four of the stories. Write a formal paragraph where you explain the theme of each story. Copy and paste the three column chart below to a new document and use it to plan your paragraph before you begin to write it.

Story Title Theme Explanation with quotation



Character Comparison Paragraph based on Tim O'Brien's "On the Rainy River"

Using all the quotations shared on pages 268, 271, and 274; create a plan and then a corresponding paragraph or multi-paragraph response comparing your own beliefs, motivations and struggles with those of Time O'Brien in "On the Rainy River".

Address these specific concepts in your comparison.
Concept 1: Tim O'Brien's beliefs about the origin of courage as described on page 268.
Concept 2: Tim O'Brien's motivation based on fear and ridicule of friends and family on page 271.
Concept 3: Tim O'Brien's internal struggles between intellect and emotion as developed on page 274.

Notes on planning an explanatory comparison paragraph or multi- paragraph paper
1. Think of the commonalties/ differences of the two items/characters/ideas being compared.
a. Venn Diagram may be helpful here. Check out this website.
2. Outline either block pattern (organization construction where the two main items/characters/ideas are paramount) or point by point (organization construction where the two main items/characters/ideas are paramount). Check out this website.

Irony Persuasive Paragraph

Choose the work that you feel provides the best example of situational, verbal, and/ or dramatic irony.
Write a persuasive paragraph in which your position is that the work is so effective at presenting the type(s) of irony that you have identified within it. Review the information provided to you on pages 1042-1043 about persuasive writing.
Make sure that your paragraph has an introduction and conclusion sentence along with specific references to the work to back up your position. If possible included emotional and rationale appeals to your position.

The works that you have to choose from are:
"Winter Night" p.40
"Cranes" p. 33
"Searching for Summer" p. 672
"The Interlopers" p. 6
"Two Kinds" p.18
"On the Rainy River" p. 266
"The Balek Scales" p. 211
"The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses" p. 232
"Games at Twilight" p. 545
"The Cabuliwallah" p. 622
"The Son from America" p. 761

Vincent Benet Persuasion Discussion
Consider components of persuasion (see 1042)
Create a persuasive graphic organizer addressing pages 3,6,7 on page 724

Benet/Teasdale Comparison Graphic Organizer
Answer question #8 on page 724.

The Code of Fiction

There is a scene in The Matrix where a character explains that he is so use to reading the code on a green phosphorescent screen that monitors the behavior of the virtual reality world called the Matrix that he can see the people, events, and places that it represents in that world, while he sits safely in his own. This essay offers that by analyzing the code the virtual we learn how to navigate in our own real world more effectively. Fiction stories are word problems. Whether a short story or novel fiction works create virtual realities where writers and readers can meet to explore the mathematical equations of real life.

In characterization, we learn the importance of judging a person’s character by their own actions and words and not by the way others describe them to us. We cannot even trust their labels to reveal them--whether aristocrat, prisoner, peasant, foreigner, or mother.

In our study of conflict, we learn that what we might believe is a conflict between people on closer observation is a clash between an individual and society, or nature, or fate. We also learn that the conflicts within us are often tied to the conflicts in the world outside of us. No one person is an island. We all float on a river of influences that has a current over which we must guide ourselves. Sometimes when we look within we find a friend waiting, a hoard of deriding voices, or even the reality of the divine.

Like the martial arts training room in The Matrix where the character Neo is made aware of his limitations and abilities-- in our study of setting and plot we find that there is no place and no time in which we find ourselves that cannot be a source of a life transforming experience. We also learn that in life conflicts are struggles that will get worse before they get better—but they do get better. We also come to realize that the currency of “better” is sometimes measured in coins of experience and personal evolution and not measured in bundles of joy.

The study of plot devices and symbolism is also a virtual lesson in reality. Through the plot device, flashback, we learn that all experience-- all history is tied together in a great chain. Through the plot device of foreshadowing we learn to observe and consider the significance of the everyday—an unbalanced scale, a shared pet bird’s release-- because the Divine is dropping clues to our own conflict’s resolution all the time. That same close observation of our surroundings, the events that take place in them, and the people that person them reveals to us that there is a constant communication or code that we should tap into for clues in how to act in our real lives. In the virtual, we find that a shed becomes a crypt, a game becomes life itself, a bird transforms into friendship’s gift of freedom, a shared sip from flask of wine becomes the seal that ends the feud that has divided families for generations, a boot of gold transforms into the gap between the priorities of different generations.

Like the dial tone that lifts the consciousness of the heroes of The Matrix from reality to a virtual world of infinite possibilities one of the most significant realizations that we can make in our study of fiction is the power of the words. Through thoughtful crafting, words can raise perspiration on skin, make our eyes squint from the light, make our skin crawl in the darkness, make our gut feel the sprawling fullness that fear can bring. The words carry the power and we all have access to it.

Read the code, read the elements of fiction, read for the lessons that will aide you in your life.


Prewriting for Literary Analysis Essay

For your assigned short story, neatly in complete sentences, address the following questions.

Read and summarize the cultural/ historical background provided in the Previewing Section
Read and summarize the author's biographical information provided after the reading.
Analyze Protagonist
Your analysis should establish whether this character is dynamic or static. You should also mention if this characterization is based on indirect or direct characterization methods. A descriptive passage with page number is necessary.
Identify and Analyze Antagonist
If a person, your analysis should establish whether this character is dynamic or static. You should also mention if this characterization is based on indirect or direct characterization methods. If the antagonist is not a then describe what the antagonist is. A descriptive passage with page number is necessary.
Identify all Conflict(s)
In this section makes sure to describe the conflict as well as labeling it. Labels include the following man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, man vs. society. An illustrative passage with page number is necessary.
Summarize Plot
In your summary mention, an event that is part of your assigned stories: exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Identify and explain the use of any plot devices
These devices include foreshadowing and flashback. An illustrative passage with page number is necessary.
Describe and analyze the setting
This section should include a description of the geographical and temporal setting as well as an analysis of how the setting affects plot, conflict, and mood of your assigned work.
Identify and Explain Irony
Identify the use of situational, dramatic, or
verbal irony
Identify and Explain Point of view
Identify the point of view the story is told from. The types of point of view include first person, third person limited, and third person omniscient. Explain how the point of view may be biased if it is first person.
Literary Analysis Thematic Essay
What is the main point or message of the story?

Literary Analysis Approaches

Now that you have established the code of your virtual world, like the operators of the Matrix series, it is time to analyze the code. There are several different approaches that have been used by others to operate or critique through the code of this literary Matrix:

Historical / Biographical critics see works as the reflection of an author's life and times (or of the characters' life and times). They believe it is necessary to know about the author and the political, economical, and sociological context of his times in order to truly understand his works (Burris)
Moral / philosophical critics believe that the larger purpose of literature is to teach morality and to probe philosophical issues.
Mimetic Approach: This can be closely related to the moral / philosophical approach, but is somewhat broader. Mimetic critics ask how well the work of literature accords with the real world. Is it accurate? Is it correct? Is it moral? Does it show how people really act? As such, mimetic criticism can include some forms of moral / philosophical criticism, psychological criticism, and feminist criticism.

Formalistic Approach A.K.A New Criticism

A formalistic approach to literature , once called New Criticism, involves a close reading of the text. Formalistic critics believe that all information essential to the interpretation of a work must be found within the work itself; there is no need to bring in outside information about the history, politics, or society of the time, or about the author's life.

Formalistic critics spend much time analyzing irony, paradox, imagery, and metaphor.

They are also interested in the work's setting, characters, symbols, and point of view (Burris).


The key to this approach is to establish which properties make the most impact on the works’ success

The body of the paper addresses how those several properties are developed uniquely in the text
Analyze Protagonist What imagery or metaphors (figurative language) is used to describe this character and to what effect?

Identify and Analyze Antagonist

What imagery or metaphors (figurative language) is used to describe this character or entity and to what effect?
Identify all Conflict(s) What paradox is developed?
Describe and analyze the setting How do geographical and temporal setting affect the plot’s development, conflict, and mood of your chosen work?
Identify and Explain Irony How and what ironies are developed throughout the text?
Identify and Explain Point of view How is this used to manipulate the reader?

Psychological Approach Psychological critics view works through the lens of psychology. They look either at the psychological motivations of the characters or of the authors themselves, although the former is generally considered a more respectable approach. Most frequently, psychological critics apply Freudian psychology to works, but other approaches (such as a Jungian approach) also exist.
A Freudian approach often includes pinpointing the influences of a character's id (the instinctual, pleasure seeking part of the mind), superego (the part of the mind that represses the id's impulses) and the ego (the part of the mind that controls but does not repress the id's impulses, releasing them in a healthy way).
Jung is also an influential force in myth (archetypal) criticism. Psychological critics are generally concerned with his concept of the process of individuation (the process of discovering what makes one different form everyone else).
Mythological / Archetypal / Symbolic
A mythological / archetypal approach to literature assumes that there is a collection of symbols, images, characters, and motifs (i.e. archetypes) that evokes basically the same response in all people. Myth critics identify these archetypal patterns and discuss how they function in the works. They believe that these archetypes are the source of much of literature's power.

Feminist criticism is concerned with the impact of gender on writing and reading. Feminists often argue that male fears are portrayed through female characters. They may argue that gender determines everything, or just the opposite: that all gender differences are imposed by society, and gender determines nothing.
Marxist literary critics explore ways in which the text reveals ideological oppression of a dominant economic class over subordinate classes.

Burris, Skylar Hamilton. "Literary Criticism: An Overview of Approaches",, 1/27/04.
Ady and Aspinwall, "Marxist Literary Criticism: Brief Guide ",, 1/27/04.

Operator Directions:

  1. Determine which approach is most appropriate to your text from the options above.
  2. On a new sheet of paper, create a position statement / thesis statement identifying the literary analysis approach that you wish to pursue with your text
    The Matrix's character Morpheus is motivated by various entities and through his influence over others his motivations become their motivations.
    The Matrix Reloaded' is a film filled with archetypal conflicts.
    The female characters of Matrix The Revolutions play a crucial in the development of the film.

  3. In the margin of your existing matrix prewriting, number all of your elements in your matrix in the order the strength of support that they supply to your theme's development.
    Underneath your position statement (on the new sheet of paper), create an essay map: listing the elements of your matrix that support such a reading. (Your essay map should address at least three different elements from your matrix prewriting.)
  4. Create a phrase outline composed of topic sentences that connect the elements from your matrix prewriting aforementioned to your position statement. For each of the elements of fiction in your phrase outline explain in a few sentences how that element aides to support or develop your theme.
  5. Determine a hook/ attention getter and a title for your paper include after.

Drafting the Literary Analysis

Combine your attention getter, position statement and essay map into a formal introduction paragraph.

Develop a body paragraph for each of the topic sentence in your informal outline; incorporating at least three passages from the short story as supports for the body of your paper. Make sure these passages are blended into the narrative of your analysis. Make sure to employ transitional expressions throughout the paper.

Conclusion paragraph should review position statement, main points developed in the body of the paper, and tie back to your attention getter.

Your draft needs to be a minimum of 400 words typed, double spaced and 12 point font.

Your title should be formatted with a catchy phrase: purpose of your essay.

Tips for Writing Your Literary Analysis
Writing an Opening
1. Your opening paragraph should gain your reader's attention and identify the thesis of your analysis. Use the suggestions listed below to help you get started. Summarize your subject very briefly include the title, author, and the type of book (or other literary form). This can be done with a statement of "what and how" about the book.
In his novel Lord of the Flies, William Golding writes about [what?] the evil side of man [how?] by describing the actions of a group of young boys who are marooned on a deserted island.
2. Start with a quotation from the book and then comment on its importance (think in terms of the focus of your analysis).
3. Begin with an explanation of the author's purpose and how well you think he or she achieves this purpose.
4. Open with a few general statements about life that relate to the focus of your analysis
There comes a time when everyone has to . . .
5. Begin with a general statement about the type of literature you are analyzing. Then discuss your subject within this context.
The best science fiction always seems believable and logical within the context of the story line. This certainly is true in . . .

Writing the Body
Develop or support your focus in the body, or main part, of the analysis. To make sure that you effectively explain each main point, follow these three steps
1. State each main point so that it clearly relates to the thesis of your analysis.
2. Support each toenails or direct quotations from the text you are analyzing.
3. Explain how these specific details prove your point.

Writing the Closing
In the final paragraph tie the points together and restate the focus of your analysis. . Leave your readers with a final thought that will keep this piece of literature on their minds for some time.

Blending Quotations

A quotation can be a single word or an entire paragraph. Choose quotations carefully, keep them as brief as possible, and use then only when they are necessary. When you do quote Material directly, be sure that the capitalization, punctuation, and spelling are the same as that in the original work. Clearly mark changes for your readers: (1) changes within the quotation are enclosed in brackets like [this]; (2) explanations are enclosed in parentheses at the end of the quotation before closing punctuation (like this).
If a quotation is four typed lines or fewer, work it into the body of your paper and put quotation marks around it .
Quotations of more than four typed lines should be set off from the rest of the writing by indenting each line 10 spaces and double- spacing the material. When quoting two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph three additional spaces. Do not use quotation marks. Double-space the quotation.

If you want to leave out part of the quotation, use an ellipsis to signify the omission. An ellipsis ( . . . ) is three periods with a space before and after each one.
Anything you take out of a quotation should not change the author's original meaning


Literary Award Ceremony Mural Project

Use the stories that you have read for this collection:

For each category below nominate the best example from the above readings.


    Write out the nominated passage or create a graphic depiction of the nominated scene or character; include a title and page number with either reporting method.


Fiction Graphic Organizer