Your Short Story Literary Response Journal should convince me that you have read and thought carefully about each assigned short story. If your understanding of the story is "wrong," yet your journal clearly proves that you read (or misread) the story, you may well receive full credit. Your grade is based on content -- what you have to say, how well you say it, your thoughts and feelings about the story, and your explanation of the logic that led to your interpretation.

Your grade is also based on following directions. I will not penalize you for grammar and usage errors -- but to receive credit, you MUST include the following in every LRJ:

  • the short story's title in quotation marks
  • the writer's name
  • a quotation from the story -- integrated with your own sentence, properly punctuated, and commented upon as necessary to show why you cited that particular passage. No Quote Lumps!
  • specific references to the piece of literature
  • careful thought

After you've included the five MUSTs above, you may choose any of these MAYBEs to guide your response. You may even choose the same one every time. Consider the possibilities:

  1. an analysis of a major character -- flat/round, static/dynamic, internal / external conflicts, dominant traits, significant actions, personal relationships
  2. a comparison / contrast of related characters -- protagonist / antagonist, foils, doubles, stereotypes, stock characters
  3. a discussion of the role(s) played by minor character(s)
  4. an analysis of elements of plot (exposition, narrative hook, rising action, climax / turning point, falling action, resolution) or plot patterns
  5. an analysis of the effect of the author's chosen point of view
  6. an analysis of the effect of setting -- time, place, circumstances
  7. an explanation of symbolism in the story
  8. a discussion of the validity and development of the theme(s)
  9. a discussion of the title's significance
  10. a detailed response to a specific word, phrase, line, sentence, passage, or scene
  11. a very limited or general comparison to another story, song, poem, play, movie
  12. a close analysis of the writer's style -- figurative language, imagery, sentence structure, specific word choices, or connotation and denotation
  13. a re-telling of the story, adding an additional scene, or changing an element, such as the ending, setting, point of view, tone
  14. a transformation of the story to another form, such as a cartoon, a news story, a letter, a play, a commercial, a soap opera, a fable...
  15. an original poem developing in some way from the assigned story
  16. a discussion of the writer's life and its relevance to the story
  17. a statement relating the story to your experience or ideas
  18. an explanation of problems you had in understanding the story
  19. your opinion of the story, good or bad, supported by specific references from the story

Length: Approximately 1/2 to 1 page long for each LRJ
Blue or black ink, front side of the paper only
Due: Beginning of the hour in the blue wire basket on my desk.