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The Story and Its Writer An Introduction to Short Fiction

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  • Edition: 10th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2018-09-26
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Supplemental Materials

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Ann Charters has an acute sense of which stories work most effectively in the classroom and knows that writers, not editors, have the most interesting and useful things to say about the making and the meaning of fiction. Instructors look forward to every new edition of her bestselling anthology to see what stories her constant search for new fiction and neglected classics will turn up.

To complement the stories, Charters includes her signature innovation: an array of the writers’ own commentaries on the craft and traditions of fiction. The six Casebooks provide in-depth, illustrated studies of particular writers or genres, for unparalleled opportunities for discussion and writing. The new, trimmer, tenth edition features many very recent stories and commentaries by up-and-coming writers; a new Casebook on short shorts or flash fiction; and an expanded focus on why we read, study, and write about short fiction.

Table of Contents

[[*Indicates a new section or selection]]
Brief Contents  
Chronological Listing of Authors and Stories 
Thematic Index to the Stories and Guide to the Commentaries 
*Introduction: Why Study Short Fiction?

Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven 
Sherwood Anderson, Hands 
Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings 
*Mary Austin, The Return of Mr. Wills 
*Isaac Babel, Guy de Maupassant  
James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues 
Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson 
*Lynda Barry, Two Questions [graphic story]
*Donald Barthelme, The School 
*Alison Bechdel, The Fellowship [graphic story] 
*Lucia Berlin, My Jockey 
Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge 
*Roberto Bolaño, The Insufferable Gaucho 
Jorge Luis Borges, The South 
Ray Bradbury, August 226: There Will Come Soft Rains 
*Frederick Busch, Ralph the Duck 
Alejo Carpentier, Journey to the Seed 
*Angela Carter, The Company of Wolves 
Raymond Carver, Cathedral 
*Raymond Carver, Popular Mechanics 
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love 
Willa Cather, Paul’s Case 
John Cheever, The Swimmer  
Anton Chekhov, The Darling 
Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Dog 
Kate Chopin, Désirée’s Baby  
Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour  
Sandra Cisneros, Barbie-Q 
*Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Portable Phonograph 
*Julio Cortázar, A Continuity of Parks 
Stephen Crane, The Open Boat 
*Lydia Davis, Pouchet’s Wife 
*Lydia Davis, The Funeral 
*Lydia Davis,The Mother 
*Don De Lillo, Human Moments in World War III  
Junot Díaz, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie 
*Anthony Doerr, The Deep 
Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal 
Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible 
William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily 
William Faulkner, That Evening Sun 

*Carolyn Forché, The Colonel 
Gabriel García Márquez, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings 
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown 
*Bessie Head, Looking for a Rain God 
Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants 
Zora Neale Hurston, Sweat 
Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle 
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery 
Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron 
James Joyce, Araby 
James Joyce, The Dead 
*Miranda July, The Swim Team 
Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist 
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis 
*Yasunari Kawabata, The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket 
*Jack Kerouac, October in the Railroad Earth 
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl 
Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpretor of Maladies 
D.H. Lawrence, Odour of Chrysanthemums 
D.H. Lawrence, The Rocking-Horse Winner 
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas  
Clarice Lispector, The Smallest Woman in the World 
Jack London, To Build a Fire 
*Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party 
Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace 
Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener 
*Lorrie Moore, How to become a Writer 
*Alice Munro, Dimensions 
*Keiji Nakazawa, From Barefoot Gen [graphic fiction] 
Joyce Carol Oates, The Lady with the Pet Dog 
Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? 
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried 
Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge 
Flannery O’Connor, Good Country People 
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find 
Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing 
Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl 
ZZ Packer, Brownies 
Grace Paley, A Conversation with My Father 
Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado 
Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher 
William Sydney Porter (O.Henry), The Gift of the Magi 
*Annie Proulx, The Blood Bay 
Philip Roth, The Conversion of the Jews 
Joe Sacco, From Palestine:  Refugeeland [graphic story] 
Marjane Satrapi, From Persepolis: “The Veil” [graphic story]
*George Saunders, Puppy 
Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, A Brief Encounter with the Enemy 
Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman 
*Zadie Smith, Crazy They Call Me 
Art Spiegelman, Prisoner on the Hell Planet: A Case History [graphic story] 
John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums 
*Tatyana Tolstaya, Aspic 
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych 
John Updike, A& P 
*Luisa Valenzuela, Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye 
*Helena María Viramontes, The Moths 
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Harrison Bergeron 
Alice Walker, Everyday Use 
David Foster Wallace, Everything is Green 
Eudora Welty, A Worn Path 
William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force 
Tobias Wolff, Say Yes 
Virginia Woolf, Kew Gardens 
Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man 

*Joan Acocella, How Angela Carter Became Feminism’s Great Mythologist
Paula Gunn Allen, Whirlwind Man Steals Yellow Woman
Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story 
Margaret Atwood, Reading Blind 
Jorge Luis Borges, Borges and I 
Matthew C. Brennan, Plotting against Chekhov: Joyce Carol Oates and “The Lady with the Dog”
Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, A New Critical Reading of “The Fall of the House of Usher”
Ann Charters, Translating Kafka 
John Cheever, Why I Write Short Stories  
Anton Chekhov, Technique in Writing the Short Story 
Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant 
Stephen Crane, The Sinking of the Commodore
*Anthony Doerr, On Reading The Story and Its Writer
*Terry Eagleton, How to Read Literature 
Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on “Battle Royal”
Richard Ellmann, A Biographical Perspective on Joyce’s “The Dead”
William Faulkner, The Meaning of “A Rose for Emily”
Janice H. Harris, Levels of Meaning in Lawrence’s “The Rocking-Horse Winner”
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948 and “The Lottery”
Gustav Janouch, Kafka’s View of “The Metamorphosis”
Sarah Orne Jewett, Looking Back on Girlhood
*Jack Kerouac, Essentials of Spontaneous Prose
Jamaica Kincaid, On “Girl”
D.H. Lawrence, On “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Cask of Amontillado”
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Scapegoat in Omelas
Luis Leal, Magical Realism in Spanish American Literature
Simon Lewis, Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”
Mario Vargas Llosa, The Prose Style of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez
Jack London, Letter to the Editor on “To Build a Fire”
Katherine Mansfield, Review of Woolf’s “Kew Gardens”
Guy de Maupassant, The Writer’s Goal
Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown”
J. Hillis Miller, A Deconstructive Reading of Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”
Alice Munro, How I Write Short Stories
Vladimir Nabokov, A Reading of Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Little Dog”
J.C.C. Nachtigal, Peter Klaus the Goatherd
Tim O’Brien, Alpha Company
Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters
Jay Parini, Lawrence’s and Steinbeck’s “Chrysanthemums”
Sydney Plum, Reading “The Veil” by Marjane Satrapi
Edgar Allan Poe, The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale
Joe Sacco, Some Reflections on Palestine
*George Saunders, The Perfect Gerbil: Reading Barthelme’s  “The School”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
Matt Steinglass, Reading Tim O’Brien in Hanoi
Leo Tolstoy, Chekhov’s Intent in “The Darling”
Leo Tolstoy, The Works of Guy de Maupassant
Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View
Eudora Welty, Is Phoenix Jackson’s Grandson Really Dead?


Short Shorts or Flash Fiction
*Aesop, The Fox and the Grapes  
*Félix Fénéon, To Die like Joan of Arc! 
*Félix Fénéon, Discharged Tuesday 
*Franz Kafka, The Wish to become an American Indian 
*John Barth, A Few Words about Minimalism 
*Charles Baxter, On the Very Short Story
 *Joyce Carol Oates, On Very Short Fictions
*Lydia Davis, Reading Short Shorts

CASEBOOK TWO:  James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” 
James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes 
Keith E. Byerman, Words and Music: Narrative Ambiguity in “Sonny’s Blues” 
Kenneth A. McClane, “Sonny’s Blues” Saved My Life 

CASEBOOK THREE: Raymond Carver  
Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 11  
Tom Jenks, The Origin of “Cathedral”  
Arthur M. Saltzman, A Reading of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”
A.O. Scott, Looking for Raymond Carver 

CASEBOOK FOUR: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” 
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” 
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration 
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” 
*S. Weir Mitchell, from “The Evolution of the Rest Treatment” 
Elaine Showalter, On “The Yellow Wallpaper”  

CASEBOOK FIVE: Flannery O’Connor 
Flannery O’Connor, From Letters, 1954-55  
Flannery O’Connor, Writing Short Stories  
Flannery O’Connor, A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable 
Joyce Carol Oates, The Parables of Flannery O’Connor 
Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetorical Reading of O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” 
Dorothy Tuck McFarland, On “Good Country People” 

CASEBOOK SIX: Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
Joyce Carol Oates, Stories That Define Me: The Making of a Writer 
Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film 
Don Moser, The Pied Piper of Tucson: He Cruised in a Golden Car, Looking for Action 

1. Reading Short Stories

  • Grace Paley, Samuel

  • Close Reading Short Fiction

  • Guidelines for Close Reading Short Fiction

    • Sample Close Reading: Grace Paley, Samuel

  • Critical Thinking About Short Fiction

2. The Elements of Fiction

  • Plot

  • Character

  • Setting

  • Point of View

  • Style

  • Theme

3. A Brief History of the Short Story

4. Writing About Short Stories

  • Keeping a Short Story Journal

  • Using the Commentaries and Casebooks

  • Writing the Paper

  • Types of Literary Papers

    • Student Essay: Explication:

    • Student Essay: Analysis:

    • Student Essay: Comparison and Contrast:

  • Writing about the Context and the Stories

  • Other Perspectives

    • Student Essay:

  • *Writing the Research Paper

    • *Student Essay: Research Paper:

  • Revising Your Research Paper

5. Literary Theory and Critical Perspectives

  • Formalist Criticism

  • Biographical Criticism

  • Psychological Criticism

  • Historical Criticism

  • Reader-Response Criticism

  • Poststructuralist and Deconstructionist Criticism

  • Gender Criticism

  • Cultural Criticism

  • Selected Bibliography

6. Glossary of Literary Terms

Index of Authors and Titles

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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