1.Read “All About Suicide” by Luisa Valenzuela
When we interpret literature, we read it carefully in order to better understand how it works (in other words, how it produces the specific effects that it does) and what it means. Please write a journal entry (min 500 words) in which you respond to the following questions with the overall goal of better understanding how this story works and what it means.
Please use specific quotes and examples from the story to support your answers. Remember that the boldfaced concepts are discussed in “Understanding Literature,” (see attached document) so you may want to review that discussion before answering the questions:
Most people have to read this story at least twice to make sense of it. How did this experience affect the story’s impact and meaning for you?
What facts about plot, character and setting does the story provide? Specifically,
oWho is Ismael?
oWhere is he?
oWhat do you know (or what can you find out) about the cultural/historical context of the story? What does that information add to our understanding of its events?
oWhat is his motivation for the shooting?
oWhom does he shoot? How do we know?
What assumptions does this story challenge about how literary texts work? In particular, you may want to think about assumptions about chronological order and about whom the pronouns “he,” “him,” and “his” refer to.
What clues exist about the writer’s attitude toward Ismael and the events of the story? A narrator’s attitude toward the events and characters of a story doesn’t always match the author’s attitude, but in this case it’s probably safe to assume that it does.
What personal perspectives affected your understanding of the story? Did they help or hinder your interpretation?
What is your overall reading of the story? Try to summarize it in just a sentence or two.
2.(Min 400 words)
Based on the understanding of “All about Suicide” that you developed in your journal entry, answer the following questions. Again, make sure to use specific quotes and examples from the story to support your points. Our goal is to have a true discussion in which you learn from each other and, perhaps, end up with a slightly different interpretation of the story than the one you started with.
What does this story have to say about suicide? Does the ambiguous use of pronouns contribute to its commentary on suicide?
The story’s narrator refers to the notion of “get[ting] at the truth.” Ultimately, what is the “truth” that this story conveys?
3.(Min 400 words)
Post a message that describes an experience with literature that made a difference to your life and responds to the following questions.
Would you say it gave you greater insight into the human condition (as claimed in “Understanding Literature”)?
Why or why not?
4.(Min 400 words)
Respond to the following questions: (see attached poems)
How is “Love Poem” different from “The Magic of Love”?
Why might someone be more likely to consider “Love Poem” literature?
Do you? Why or why not?
Most people would say the climax of “The Story of an Hour” is the moment when Louise sees her husband is still alive and dies. If so, what is the primary conflict, and how does it drive the plot to that climax? Make sure to support and develop your answers with details and quotes from the story.
Explain your understanding of the time period and geographical location of Persepolis, along with the social/political/economic situations that help create the context for the story. Feel free to do some research if that helps. What overall mood is created, and how does it change?