Alice Walker, “Everyday Use,” pp. 17-25, Course Pack (A realistic story)

Alice Walker, “Everyday Use,” pp. 17-25, Course Pack (A realistic story)


Explore some of the differences between a fable or parable (which often relies on plot and has a clear ‘moral’ or meaning) and a short story (which usually does is not only about plot and often cannot be ‘explained’ as easily).
1) In a first paragraph, try to briefly give the reader what it is about your chosen parable or fable that ‘gets your attention.’ Does it have good ‘story value’? Is it easy to remember and re-tell? Speculate on why is it that your parable has existed for hundreds (or even thousands) of years. What is the ‘moral’ of this story? Is the moral or meaning of the parable or tale clear to the reader? Is it possible to derive other meanings from the story beside the official ‘moral’? Why or why not? Also, is plot (or a plot ‘twist’), the most important ‘element’ in a parable or fable? Try to tell us the plot twist or moral using a direct quote and cite.
2) In a second paragraph (or two), try to describe what element or elements in your chosen short story are most ‘original,’ ‘interesting’ or ‘appealing’ to you beyond the plot in your story. For instance, you might describe a setting, a character, effective dialogue (the way characters speak) or a decision a protagonist must make. (For example, in “Everyday Use,” the mother decides to give the family quilts to Maggie. In Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the narrator confesses to murder even though he has gotten away with the crime. These are complex decisions that aren’t easy to explain — like in a fable.) Another short story element is point of view (the skillful control of what we see and hear as readers). Try to anchor your ‘reading’ of this second text using at least 3 actual short passages from the story which are presented and cited using last name and page number, for example, (Walker 279). Make sure you explain what your quotes ‘mean’ using a ’quote sandwich’ that a) introduces, b) presents and then c) explains each short quote.

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