The Story of an Hour

The Story of an Hour (287-289) 1) One of the most interesting aspects of this short story is its ending. A big source of confusion is the cause of Mrs. Mallard’s death. How does this story raise many moral and probing questions regarding the “Crime and Punishment” theme, and specifically, what moral and probing questions might you have about the dynamics of what many might have seen as the perfect marriage? What do you think about the ending? 2) Why do you believe that Mrs. Mallard died? What causes her death? Is Mrs. Mallard a devious character for being happy when she believed her husband had died, or was she a victim of the gender norms of the time period she lived? Use evidence from the text to support your answer. A Rose for Emily (308-316) 3) What is the effect of the final paragraph of the story? How does it contribute to your understanding of Emily? Why is it important that we get this information last rather than at the beginning of the story? 4) Faulkner uses a number of Gothic elements in this plot: the imposing decrepit house, the decayed corpse, and the mysterious secret horrors connected with Emily’s life. How do these elements forward the plot and establish the atmosphere? The Yellow Wallpaper (316-330) 5) What is important about the title, The Yellow Wallpaper? Could the wallpaper have been any other color? How would a change in color have changed the story? How does the color “yellow” affect you? Do you like (or dislike) it? Do some research on the internet: What are the psychological implications of the color “yellow”? How would a different color change the story? 6) What are the conflicts in The Yellow Wallpaper? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) did you notice? Is the conflict resolved? 7) What are some themes in The Yellow Wallpaper? Symbols? How do they relate to the plot and characters? A Good Man is Hard to Find (412-473) 8) Are any of O’Connor’s characters sympathetic? Is the grandmother sympathetic? The Misfit? 9) Is the story hopeful or cynical? How do you feel at the end? 10) How do you think The Misfit sees the grandmother throughout the story? By the end? How, if at all, does she affect him? 11) Is The Misfit a believable character, and a believable personification of evil? Why or why not?

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