Journal Topics for Intro to Fiction
Journal entries consist of exploratory, creative, and analytical responses to assigned reading. Fill one page (approximately 250 words) in response to each prompt. Bring to class, please, on the date listed. You may be called upon to read your entry aloud and/or otherwise share it with classmates.
Monday, Oct. 2
This topic is based on the "Writing Assignment on Plot" at the bottom of page 22 in our Kennedy/Gioia text:
Write two healthy paragraphs in response to Updike's "A & P." In the first paragraph, write a brief description of the story, focusing on the plot and main characters. In the second paragraph explain how the protagonist, Sammy, is changed or tested by the story's events.
Wednesday, Oct. 11
This topic is based on the "Writing Assignment on Setting" on page 147 of our Kennedy/Gioia text:
Write four brief paragraphs (still just one page total) about the interrelationship of character and setting in the four short stories we've studied so far: "A & P," "A Rose for Emily," "Cathedral," and "A Pair of Tickets." How does the setting of the climax of the story contribute to a change in the character's perspective?
Monday, Oct. 16
This topic is based on "More Topics for Writing," number 4, on page 182 in our Kennedy/Gioia text:
An experiment in style: three paragraphs. In one paragraph describe a city street as seen through the eyes of a college graduate who has moved to the city to start a new career. In the second paragraph describe that same street in the voice of an old woman walking home from the hospital where her husband has just died. Finally, in the third paragraph, describe the street in the voice of a teenage runaway. In each paragraph, refrain from identifying your character or saying anything about his or her circumstances. Simply present the street as each character would perceive it.
Wednesday, Nov. 15
Take a page to reflect upon our mini-unit on Flannery O'Connor. In your own terms, examine what is added to our appreciation of fiction when we broaden our study to include the author's biography, aesthetic theory, and the contribution of literary critics. Freely refer to the stories and article excerpts we studied in Kennedy/Gioia Chapter 10.
Monday, Nov. 20
Using "My Life with the Wave" as your model, write a narrative of your relationship with a possession--a book, a cell phone, a piece of clothing or jewelry, a car--as if you were describing the stages of a love affair, from the initial attraction and desire to final disillusionment and break-up.
Wednesday, Nov. 22
According to many literary critics, all of the main features of Latin American magic realism can be found in Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Develop this theme with detailed reference to both the story itself and the components of magic realism.
Wednesday, Nov. 29
Review the following four attempts to define the art of fiction. To what extent do they help you think about the function (or, if you prefer, purpose) of fiction? Refer to any of the stories we've read this quarter to substantiate your claims.
- Fiction (noun): 1) The class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration; 2) works of this class, i. e., novels or short stories; 3) something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story. --Dictionary.com
- Fiction is the truth inside the lie. --Stephen King
- Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos . . . to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream. --John Cheever
- Like a vivid daydream, fiction simultaneously takes us out of our reality and holds us firmly in it. To live imaginatively inside a story as it unfolds, word by word, sentence by sentence, is to join the author in a collaborative game of make-believe that expands the mind, softens the heart, and enriches the spirit. --Dave Denny
Monday, December 4
Examine the difference between short stories and novels. As a reader, what would you
say are the joys and challenges of each form of fiction? What reading, thinking, and
imaginative skills are required by each form? Refer to two or three of the short stories
we have read this quarter and also to our novel.
Wednesday, Dec. 6
What are the three most important things you have learned in Introduction to Fiction this quarter? Refer to the stories, the lessons, the lectures, the discussions, the personal study that made a difference. How have you been changed as a result of this class? Include intellectual, emotional, and/or spiritual impacts.
Wednesday, Dec. 13
Prepare your Journal for final submission. Collect all 9 entries into a small booklet, including a table of contents and title page. Make it a pretty little booklet of your exploratory writing about fiction this quarter. Submit the final draft at our final exam session.