English 20-1: Short Stories Unit

Mr. Steel



During this unit of study, students will read a broad selection of short stories. They will have the opportunity to write about these stories, assessing them both on the simple level of summarization as well as on the deeper level of thematic analysis. Students will gain working familiarity with literary terminology and the general structure of stories. This unit will also provide students with the opportunity to gain more experience with multiple choice reading comprehension tests, which figure prominently both in departmental as well as provincial examinations. Finally, students will also have the opportunity to work on their essay composition skills during this unit of study.



š         Short Daily Written Submissions: In complete sentences and paragraph form, all students will be required to write daily story notes that summarize their understanding of what happens in each story. At the end of these notes, students should include a list of at least FIVE challenging words with their definitions. Also, students will be expected to end these brief written submissions with an explanation of what they perceive to be a major theme, question, problem, or lesson in the story. Student investigation of themes after the summary should demonstrate significant development and reliance on evidence from the text (1 page double-spaced). These story notes and the accompanying thematic analysis will help students remember the stories for exams at the end of the semester, and they will act as preliminary work for their thematic essay writing.

š         Daily Multiple Choice Reading Comprehension Questions: after we have completed each short story as a class, students will be able to practice for their departmental exams (and provincial exams in the long term) in the form of short open-book quizzes.

š         In-class Personal Response/Critical Essay: Students will write either a personal response or a critical essay (as assigned by the teacher in class) on a stipulated theme.

š         Short Story Terminology Test: Students will be responsible for basic knowledge of short story terminology.


Itinerary of Readings:


Author and Title of Story

1. Susan Kerslake, “Choices”

2. Margaret Laurence, “To Set Our House in Order”

3. Sinclair Ross, “The Lamp at Noon”

4. Frank Roberts, “The Inheritor”

5. Arthur C. Clarke, “The Portable Phonograph”

6. Budge Wilson, “The Metaphor”

7. Kurt Vonnegut, “Harrison Bergeron”

8. Isaac Asimov, “All the Troubles of the World”

9. Shirley Jackson, “The Possibility of Evil”

10. Hernando Tellez, “Ashes for the Wind”