The Task

You are going to select a short story from below and analyze

·      its fictional engagement with a contemporary social issue

·      the evolution of your own understanding of the issue

The Rationale

The purpose of this exercise is for you to practice working with literary fiction (a form of popular culture, but also a form of traditional storytelling as well as discourse made of up information that is realistic, but technically not real).

The goal here is about more than comprehending the story or recognizing it use of literary devices like symbols and metaphors. Rather, the goal is for you to see how you can use a story to understand a contemporary social issue and therefore use fiction or popular culture as a source of knowledge on that issue.

Why? Because you will always encounter stories in your professional life.

The Readings

Choose ONE of the four short stories for this assignment. They are available for free reading on the website for Walrus magazine. Click on the title below to access the story.

Tip: you are not required to read all four stories, but I do recommend that you read at least two of them before you make your choice. I will offer some brief context on the plot for each story in my video-lesson so that you can make an informed choice.

Note: the first two stories marked with * include an audio version of the text.

·      Lottery poetry by Kevin Chong*

·      Tax niÊ” pikÌ“ak (A long time ago) by Troy Sebastian*

·      Going up the mountain by Trevor Shikaze

·      Bloodlines by Erika T. Wurth

o   WARNING: The story “Bloodlines” uses inappropriate language (including profanity (F-words), misogynist words (the B-word), and outdated names for Indigenous Peoples). It also includes descriptions of violence, including violence against women, and references to colonial violence against Indigenous Peoples. If you think this kind of language or content could disturb or upset you, then please do not read this story.





The Task

This assignment requires you to answer two types of questions: sentence-length, short answers and paragraph-length, long answers.


Short Answers

Compose one paragraph to answer the two questions below.

·      What story did you choose? Identify the title and the author.

·      What key social issue does the story foreground?


Long Answers


·      Imagine that you are in a formal, academic conversation with a peer who has read the same story and is also interested in learning more about the same issue. What are the most important details in this story that you want them to focus on? Explain why these details could be important for helping you (and your peer) develop your understanding of the issue. Compose your analysis in two paragraphs.


·      What did you know about this issue before you read the story and how did the story change your perspective? Compose your reflection in one-to-two paragraphs.


The Format


As with your previous assignments, remember to use


·      Double-space paragraphs

·      12 pt Times New Roman font


In your analysis, make direct references to the text and cite the details in APA style using in-text citations and a reference for the story at the end of your assignment

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