AP Short Stories

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

colbertthelotteryshirlyjacksonWe’ve been been working with characterization and close reading a lot this quarter, which we’ll cap off with some super rad short stories.  You must have the story read when you come to class each day as we’ll start with short answer or multiple choice questions before moving into discussion.  If you miss a day, be sure to see me for your make-up assignment.  Then you’ll read two short stories of your own choosing and write a reflection.  Click through the break for links to the texts of all the stories.


“Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood

“Cathedral” by Raymond Carver 

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

“Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor

“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Clytie” by Eudora Welty 

And as for the short story of your choosing, here’s a list of recommended works.  If you want to read something else, you may, but you have to clear it with me first.

Choose at least two to read:

Pretty much anything written by the following authors is a safe bet:

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Flannery O’Connor
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Graham Greene: “The Destructors” (Post WWII pseudo-dystopian masterpiece.  Ever see Donnie Darko?  This is the short story they were talking about.)
  • Alice Munro: “How I Met my Husband” (cute . . . with a twist)
  • Katherine Anne Porter: “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” (because who doesn’t have a secret in the attic?)
  • Catherine Mansfield: “The Garden Party”
  • Toni Cade Bambara: “The Lesson”
  • Nadine Gordimer: “Once Upon a Time” (a lesson for grown ups)
  • D. H. Lawrence: “The Rocking Horse Winner” (a classic, aaaaand pretty Freudian)
  • Joyce Carol Oates: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”; “Life After High School” (Growing up is hard.  These stories may be a little longer than some, but they contain characters you might identify with)
  • John Updike: “A&P” (Again, characters you can identify with.  Heroism in the modern age is tough.)
  • Raymond Carver: “Why Don’t You Dance?”; “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” (If you saw Birdman, this is the story from that)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”; “Winter Dreams”; “Babylon Revisited”
  • James Baldwin: “Sonny’s Blues”
  • Ambrose Bierce: “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (Civil War)
  • William Faulkner: “A Rose for Emily” (A Gothic tale exploring the difficulty of changing times and loyalties)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “The Yellow Wallpaper” (if you have even just a tinge of feminism in you or liked “The Story of an Hour,” this is a must)
  • Coraghessan Boyle: “Greasy Lake” (If you liked “The Most Dangerous Game” or “Hunters in the Snow” or have testosterone or don’t like posers . . . )
  • Sandra Cisneros: “Barbie-Q” (social consciousness, feminism and body image, — and easy read with a bit of everything)
  • James Thurber: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (Stream of consciousness fun)
  • Jorge Luis Borges: “The South”
  • George Saunders: “Pastoralia” (for those of you looking for something written in this decade)
  • Ursula Le Guin: “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (philosophical and an easy read)
  • Andre Dubus: “A Father’s Story” (Catholic moral dilemmas + How far will a father go for his daughter?)


Now write a reflection — no rubric, nothing specific, just tell us what you think it’s about.  What impacted you about the story?  What did you find too trite?  What did id make you think about?  . . . You can interpret wrong, but you CANNOT look at Spark Notes or internet sources of any kind.  Yes, you read that right — you can be wrong as long as the thoughts are your own.  Don’t pollute yourself with the droll, mindless quoting of the internet, just think and write.


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