1. Read the short story “The Things They Carried” (p. 340 or 321) and research the author Tim O’Brien. How did O’Brien interject his own experiences into the story without actually being a character in it? What if the setting of this story were present time in Afghanistan or Iraq? How might the characters, the things they carried, and situations be different? If you don’t think things would be that much different, explain your thoughts. Use examples from the story to explain your thoughts and to compare the settings.
2. Read the short story “The Story of an Hour” (p. 260 or 179) and research to find out Kate Chopin’s background and life experiences. How are these evident or displayed in the piece you read? Researching the lives of women at this time period, what do you think Chopin might have been trying to say to the reader? Use examples from the story to explain your thoughts and ideas.
3. Read the four poems by Langston Hughes. Research the time period and about his background. Discuss the themes and overall ideas from each poem. What information did you discover that better explains his style, writing, and themes he chose? Use examples from the poems to demonstrate your findings.
4. Read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” (p. 40) in the textbook and find another one of his short stories online (
).â€œ Research Poe’s life. Is there any indication in his information that indicates why he might have written stories like this? Compare and contrast the two stories you read (What are some similarities? What are differences?). Research a bit about Poe’s writing in general to determine if these similarities and differences are common to Poes’ stories.
5. Read several poems by Emily Dickenson. Research her life story. Is her life characterized by her poetry? Why or why not? Does the setting or time period in which she wrote influence her writing? What are the common themes in her poetry? How might these be explained from your findings?