A Call for Suggestions

I’m spending at least part of my holiday break putting together syllabi for classes that I might be asked to teach next term at CHS (such is the joy of being a teacher in a poorly-funded charter school!).  So far, Carrie has expressed an interest in my teaching either English III (which is the least likely option, as the class is probably going to the other English teacher, but it may still land in my lap), a Film as Lit class (which I can pretty much do on the fly), or a Short Story Reading and Writing course (which is what I’m asking about today).

I’ve got the syllabus for the Short Story class pretty much fleshed out – all, that is, except for the actual stories.  I have a set of good objectives, I’ve got a lot of the foundational, “elements of fiction” bases covered, and I’m pretty clear about the path we’ll take through the writing process.  What I DON’T have is experience sufficient enough with short fiction to know which stories are, you know, good.

So, Dear Readers, I’m asking for your input.  Give ms some of your favorite short stories, and so much the better if you’ve got them in PDF format or as links online somewhere; remember that I have exceedingly limited book access at CHS.

Aaaaannd, GO!



Filed under colleagues, compassion and cooperation, composition, lesson planning, Literature, Questions, reading, Teaching, winging it

21 responses to “A Call for Suggestions

  1. Zee

    The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman which you can find at Project Gutenberg

  2. The Necklace (even though I had to read it in French) was always my favorite.

  3. mccgood

    Okay I am thinking, I took a short stories course when I was a junior in high school. I am reaching into my memory bank.

  4. My all-time fave: “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. You can find it here.

  5. Julie Meiklejohn

    “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Connor
    “A Rose for Emily” William Faulkner

    Both have that sort of “shock” factor that make them engaging and memorable.

  6. This story is one of my favorites. I read it in a freshman English class in college. There’s a lot of interesting underlying stuff in it.


  7. People listed all the stories that made me want to drop out of college. Nasty stuff.

  8. Oh, my suggestion?

    “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison. You can buy it for fifty cents as an e-book on http://www.fictionwise.com

    Here’s the opening:

    Limp, the body of Gorrister hung from the pink palette; unsupported–hanging high above us in the computer chamber; and it did not shiver in the chill, oily breeze that blew eternally through the main cavern. The body hung head down, attached to the underside of the palette by the sole of its right foot. It had been drained of blood through a precise incision made from ear to ear under the lantern jaw. There was no blood on the reflective surface of the metal floor.

    When Gorrister joined our group and looked up at himself, it was already too late for us to realize that, once again, AM had duped us, had had its fun; it had been a diversion on the part of the machine. Three of us had vomited, turning away from one another in a reflex as ancient as the nausea that had produced it.

    Gorrister went white. It was almost as though he had seen a voodoo icon, and was afraid of the future. “Oh God,” he mumbled, and walked away. The three of us followed him after a time, and found him sitting with his back to one of the smaller chittering banks, his head in his hands. Ellen knelt down beside him and stroked his hair. He didn’t move, but his voice came out of his covered face quite clearly. “Why doesn’t it just do us in and get it over with? Christ, I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this.”

    It was our one hundred and ninth year in the computer.

    He was speaking for all of us.

  9. drtombibey

    Merry Christmas chili. I don’t know if it helps any, but if physician bluegrass fiction will help any of your kids, you sure have my permission to use anything on my blog. All the best,

    Dr. B

  10. Being the Tolkien geek of your blogosphere, I might recommend “Smith of Wooton Major” and “Farmer Giles of Ham,” particularly “Farmer Giles.”

  11. Anything by Jack London, Kate Chopin, or William Faulkner are great. The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne is great.

  12. Jen

    I’ve always loved “Leaf, by Niggle” by Tolkein. It was in one of my high school textbooks and I read it outside of class. Don’t know where to send you to find it, though.

  13. Short stories I have taught and loved teaching:

    “Harrison Bergeron” and “EPICAC” by Kurt Vonnegut (I love most stories from the “Welcome to the Monkey House” collection, but many aren’t available online I suspect)
    “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    “Hop-Frog,” “Never Bet the Devil Your Head,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe (I would probably also greatly enjoy a number of other Poe stories, including “The Black Cat” and/or “The Cask of Amontillado”)
    “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving
    “The Birth-Mark” and “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    “The Story of an Hour” and “Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin
    “An Episode of War” by Stephen Crane

    I have them all as Word documents on my computer at school, so if you want any of them, let me know. 🙂

  14. I think I’ve already sent you the ones I have in pdf. Here are a few short stories that you might find useful:

    Charles Chestnutt’s The Conjure Woman is a collection of short stories. The Wife of His Youth is another one of his popular short stories.

    A Jury of Her Peers — Susan Glaspell

    The Minister’s Black Veil — Nathaniel Hawthorne

    To Build a Fire — Jack London (fantastic!)

    Sweat — Zora Neale Hurston

    What You Pawn I will Redeem — Sherman Alexie

    Girl — Jamaica Kincaid

    A&P — John Updike

    A Worn Path — Eudora Welty

    Almost any David Sedaris Essay

    Where are you going, where have you been? — Joyce Carol Oates

    Good Country People — Flannery O’Connor

    Hills Like White Elephant — Earnest Hemingway

    Cathedral — Raymond Carver

    Fleur– Louise Erdrich

    Sonny’s Blues — James Baldwin

    D.P. — Kurt Vonnegut

  15. Suzanne

    Interpreter of Maladies by Jumpa Lahiri. It was a long time ago but I really enjoyed her writing.

  16. I’m sure either Bowyer or I could find you “Leaf by Niggle,” Mrs. C.

  17. jrh

    Hills Like White Elephant, as mentioned above.

    And The Lottery is a good punch in the gut.

  18. My absolute favorite is “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl (http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/lamb.html)–great for teaching irony.

    “Indian Camp” by Hemingway

    “Flight” by Steinbeck–especially good for teaching climax, since there is almost no resolution and the kids really need to think about the decision that is made to change the outcome of the conflict

  19. http://www.amazon.com/Bears-Discover-Fire-Other-Stories/dp/0312890354

    “Bears Discover Fire” is the best short story collection I’ve ever read.

  20. Your blog is very motivating. I am glad that you have put on view this fine piece of writing.

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