Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hamill vs. Breslin

Although written only five years apart and about similar events, the Breslin and Hamill stories we read for class feel vastly different. Identify one literary technique that, to your mind, contributes to this different feel and explain how it contributes. You might choose, for example, from point of view, narrative structure, choice of language, and so on. Please be as specific and complete as possible. Your response should be posted prior to class on Wed., Dec. 10.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take the Cannoli

If next semester you were to write a story about a place or an event a la Southern, Thompson, or Vowell, what would it be and why? The only restriction is that the place or event must actually be accessible to you. Please respond prior to class on Wed., Nov. 19.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved

Compare the narrator of Thompson's piece with that of Terry Southern's "Twirling at Ole Miss." In what ways are they similar? Dissimilar? Your response is due prior to class on Wed., Nov. 12.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Twirling at Ole Miss

What does baton twirling represent in Terry Southern's story? How does he construct or convey that meaning? Be specific in describing at least one literary technique he uses (imagery, dialog, character, point of view, tone, etc.) to achieve his effects. Please post your response prior to class on Wed., Nov. 5.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Examine the use of imagery (simile, metaphor, etc.) in the excerpt from Michael Herr's Dispatches. Do you notice any pattern to Herr's choice of images? What purpose or purposes do the images generally serve? Was there one particular image or set of images that caught your attention while reading? Why?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Third Winter Is the Hardest

Describe the relationship between the straight and parenthetical passages in Martha Gellhorn's "The Third Winter." In other words, what is the function of each and how do they function in relation to each other?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Death of Rodriguez/Juke Joint

The issue for a writer is how to close the gap, often yawning, between the writer's subject and the reader's experience. Give one example of how Richard Harding Davis creates reader admiration and/or sympathy for Rodriguez in his story. You should cite a specific image, description, etc., rather than make a general statement. Notice, too, how he leads us to feel quite the opposite about the Spaniards.

Or you can describe the function of the songs and song titles in Walter Bernstein's "Juke Joint." Cite a specific instance from the story to illustrate your point.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Story Structure

Both "Drift" and "Los Angeles Notebook" are composed of discrete episodes or scenes, but despite this similarity, the overall stories are organized in radically different ways. Please explain by midnight Tuesday, Sept. 16, how the basic structures of the stories differ and the possible reasons, thematic and otherwise, for the differences.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Is Stephen Crane's "Man Falls, a Crowd Gathers" news? Why or why not? (Feel free to respond to each other's comments, not just the question.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome to Version Fall.08

Tell me something I ought to know about you that will help me help you as a writer -- your aspirations, your fears and doubts, your literary or journalistic heroes, etc. Don't be afraid to read and bounce off each other's comments. Your own comments should be as clear and complete as you can make them in a long paragraph (150 words or so). Remember this is my introduction to your writing. Impress me. Or at least don't bore me. (First lesson: That's about the worst thing you can do to a reader. What's the worst? Probably to unintentionally confuse him or her.)