Group 4: Karina Zilbersher, Ariel Sur, Yolande Hinnawi, Tanya Volowelsky, Malka Zerkayev. Unit I Task I submitted by KARINA ZILBERSHER Which definition of the literary short story seems most appropriate to you? Please explain. You may combine parts of the definitions you have read above or elsewhere and add your own insights. The definition of a short story which follows seems most appropriate to me because it contains explanation which includes all the most important characteristic of the topic. A short story is a tale told in prose which deals with a single situation (plot) over a very short period of time and which is concerned with only one crisis and effect. Generally, only one incident or character is centered there. There is a conflict situation – a struggle between opposing forces. The climax evolves from the basic situation. The central purpose of a short story is usually one of two things: to entertain or to convey a theme. A short story usually appeals to the reader’s emotions (the way “Story Teller” has done to me). I would like to emphasize that short stories have different objectives. I mean that there are stories of character- the interest is primarily in what the main characters do and say. Stories of setting- interest centers in the place and time where the story happens. Stories of plot- interest evolves from what is going to happen. Stories of theme- the idea behind the story is more important than the characters, setting or plot. I think that the main feature of the short story is its plot, because it contains answers to many questions that readers have during and after their reading. Of course, each author has his/her own way of exposition which we, readers, can judge whether it is breathtaking, exiting or boring. Activity II Question No. 5 submitted by Ariel Sur The play version of Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers" is called Trifles. What do both titles suggest about the theme? I must start my answer admitting that I got quite interested in "A Jury of Her Peers", of which I had never heard before, and that I did a bit of research on the Internet in order to become more familiar both with the writer and her famous story. I found out that the play ("Trifles") was written a few years before the short story and became popular almost instantly. Actually, it was the play's success and public demand that gave Glaspell the idea of putting it into a story form. The author herself claimed the plot to be based on a real court case she had witnessed and reported on (in 1900), in which a farmer's wife had apparently killed her husband in his sleep but was released for insufficient evidence. Most significant is the fact that, back in those days, women were not allowed to be members of a jury. This is most probably the reason for the author calling her story "A Jury of Her Peers", precisely because it is the women who manage to solve the crime based on apparently insignificant pieces of evidence (trifles). The title of the short story suggests that someone is being, or has been, judged by her own class. Examples that come to mind are a policeman by a police jury, a doctor by a panel of physicians, a general by an army court. Obviously, it was Glaspell's literary intention to have a woman judged by 'her peers', that is, other women, especially those who belonged to her same town and class and had known her for long years. As for the "Trifles" title, it obviously aims at stating how, often, it is the small, seemingly irrelevant details that can provide the solution to an otherwise unresolved crime or mystery. In conclusion, if I may risk one, a mixture of both titles would suggest that women have, at least, as much to say in a jury as men do. We should not forget, though, that much as this last sentence sounds taken for granted today, it was not really so a hundred years ago, when women were denied many basic civil rights, such as voting. Unit 1 – Activity 2 question #4 submitted by Name: Yolande Hinnawi In her work “A jury of her peers” and “trifles” Suzan Glaspell concentrates on the ways in which women were historically silenced within the legal system. Women were to be "seen" and not heard. They were expected to get married, raise a family and obey their husbands at all costs. The man was always right, and there was no room for discussion. They were physically and verbally abused. Both titles are of great importance and they add to the understanding of the reader that women were disregarded in a rustic and outland setting. However, one can see that the women actually know more, even though their observations regarding preserves, quilting, and bird cages are overlooked. The title "A Jury of Her Peers" centers the reader’s attention on the fact that the women prove Mrs. Wright guilty of murdering her husband, yet they concealed the evidence because they felt the same isolation and oppression. Mrs. Wright had felt. The idea of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters being a "jury" and not adjudging Mrs. Wright supports the argument that women were struggling against male oppression. Trifles are generally items of little importance or value. The title refers to the insignificant things the women in the play notice while the men overlook. Glaspell uses irony with the title because these "trifles" noticed by the women turn out to be essential to the case and are what the men are looking for all along. I think the women concealed the evidence because they felt the same isolation and oppression Mrs. Wright had felt, except less severe. At that time period, all women probably felt their desire to be more than just a housewife, but also the weight of society's expectations which held them back. I think they realized Mrs. Wright's struggles as their own and couldn't give Mrs. Wright up without extinguishing their own hopes of eventual freedom. I personally think they were right morally because to give up the evidence would have been to accept the fact that women can be suppressed by men and confined to being a housewife. Both of the titles and both versions of the narrative clearly renders the struggle of women against the state of becoming neglected slaves in the rural setting. Minnie Wright is remembered by her peers as a decent woman who used to have a life, not as a mere trifle in the oppressive world of men. Task III submitted by Tanya Volowelsky The following questions are based on the story "The Story Teller". Answer any one out of the three questions below. 1.Did anything in the story especially please/annoy/surprise/puzzle/interest you? What feelings/thoughts did the story “The Story Teller” awake in you? First of all I would like to express my general opinion – the pleasure from the story was extremely high. The author deserved my admiration because he demonstrated the rare thing in modern literature, that is, the deep understanding of young children’s world. Describing children in the carriage, he especially succeeded in the description of their behavioral patterns, reactions, the manner of speech and thinking etc. I believe each experienced mother while reading this story will recognize her children in the young passengers of the train. I personally saw in those small girls from the story my three-year old daughter. I, like their aunt, am not always able to answer these endless amazing questions (like "Why is the grass in the other field better?") that only children know how to ask to drive adults crazy. The thing that made me feel slightly sad was the post-reading realization of the fact how huge the gap between my child’s and my own perception of reality is. Another moment that I highly appreciated in the story was the author’s specific, very colorful humor. Lines like “She was utterly unable to come to any satisfactory decision about the grass in the other field” made me roll with laughter and reminded me of another great humorist in literature – Mark Twain. And, finally, I would like to thank Hugh Munro for an elegant and “easy” form that he used to make us think about very difficult and polemic issues, such as problems of mutual understanding, conventional versus alternative education, worldviews etc. Task IV submitted by by Malka Zirkiev A good story is….. , well, before reading this unit, I assumed that a story is considered good once it gets positive criticisms, like "This will be the best story you have read this year", or "Interesting, funny and exciting. I couldn’t stop reading it", but the question is how those pieces of criticisms decide whether the story is good or not By reading the information that was given in this unit, I understood that a story can get its quality from the way it was written. The author should write his story to comprise some elements that will help him develop a good story. The elements are: 1. Plot- a causal sequence of events. With the plot the reader has the ability to understand and "live" the characters` decisions and actions. In the plot we can usually find the exposition of the story, the complication, the climax and the resolution. Sometimes like in the movies, the story can first start with the resolution and only then with the exposition in order to keep the reader interested. In other words, a plot structure is the way in which the story elements are arranged and the writer has the ability to choose how to design his story. 2. Point of view- the story can be told from different points of view and in different ways of telling. The writer can decide who the speaker of the story will be. The reader gets the information according to what the speaker tells him. We can find few types of point of view like the objective one that tell the story without showing his emotions, the third person point of view that tells us about the characters feeling and thinking, the first person who tells the story in his own version, and sometimes it may not be the all true, omniscient and limited omniscient points of view, the one who knows everything about everyone or has a limited knowledge only about one person. 3. Characters- when I read a story I always try to imagine the characters in order to feel them and get closer. In my opinion it is important to understand them because after all by reading the story we "live" their life. Reading the story we can find major or minor characters that each and every one of them has his own effect on the story. 4. Setting- the setting is the place where the story happens. In it, we can include the color, the sound and the texture. The setting is not only the location but also the time when the story happens. 5. Theme- each story tries to give the readers a new look about things. The writer has the ability to choose which lesson he wants to teach his readers and what is the massage they should understand. In my opinion, each person can understand the massage differently, but still the writer can lead the readers. Learning about all those elements can show us that stories are not just written by an author, but they are written in a structured way that develops the story. A story can present a whole world. People like stories because when they read them they can get into them and sometimes even feel that the stories relate to their life. People are exposed to stories from their childhood and they grow with them. Reading a story can be a moment of quality and happiness. People can forget their problems while reading and even find comfort. If a person has love problems for example, by reading he can see other persons' problems and understand that he is not alone. Besides, stories can sometimes teach us new things about life. Usually, writers include some historical fact in their story. I used to read many love stories that were based on historical events; by reading those stories, I enjoyed them and learned as well. Besides the pleasure, stories also provide us with the opportunity to imagine. We all know that using the imagination develops our brain. As I said before, when I read a story I always try to see the pictures in my head. I try to imagine the characters, the place and the situations in the story. I believe that this ability grows inside the children that get exposed to reading from their earliest age. More than once we hear a little child ask his mother to read him a book. By reading to them we can also make them love stories. We can say that it is possible to divide stories readers fascinated with into a few groups: love stories, drama stories, war stories, mythology stories, and more. Each person can relate to some kind of story and enjoy it. .