Your group's seminar presentation should be a coherent discussion that helps your classmates appreciate your chosen short story. Provide an extensive handout in note format, which will serve as a kind of "mini-Cliff Note," giving literary and biographical information needed for a thorough under-standing of the story. Include all the topics on this assignment sheet in reproducible form (typed or printed in black ink). The very best handouts will be more than thorough -- perhaps even provocative. Your presentation should take from 20 to 30 minutes, but it should not be a mechanical rendering of information already on the handout. (Remember that as teachers, you will also be expected to evaluate your lesson and assess your classmates' learning!)
1. The Writer's Background: How has the writer's personal life affected this story? What literary influences are evident from the writer's background or from the story itself? Do not tell everything you find, but rather sift through this information, interpreting and emphasizing what is truly relevant.
2. The Writer's Other Works: Is this work typical for the writer? Are the themes in your story consistent with themes in other works by the writer? Has the writer used other literary forms in any way that might be significant or interesting? Show us the connections.
3. Précis of the Short Story: Following directions given in class, write a one-paragraph summary of the story. Do not draw conclusions or interpret in your synopsis. Be accurate and concise. Write in your own words, but avoid choppy sentences. Combine "baby" sentences when necessary for grace.
4. Technical Details about the Short Story:
5. Significant Quotations: Cite sentences and/or passages which seem significant or which illustrate the writer's style. Include the page number and be prepared to discuss what each quotation means, why you chose it, and how it is important to the story. Remember that dialogue and quotation are not the same thing.
6. Special Topics: What special line of inquiry
interests your group? You might consider additional technical
aspects, such as irony, satire, figurative language, or
symbolism. Does this story take a stand about family relationships,
sexual attitudes, racial discrimination, economics, politics,
or religion? Might the Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven
Cardinal Virtues be relevant? Or a discussion of sins
of omission vs. sins of commission?