Saturday, June 13, 2009

Short Story...continued

I really don't admire Maupassant, Saki, or O'Henry... it's the "twist ending" kind of thing, I guess. I prefer Roald Dahl's gruesome shorts. Stories like "Skin," "Lamb to Slaughter," "William the Conqueror," and even "Man from the South" are a lot of fun to read, probably a lot of fun to teach, but here we are again: is my job to teach what I like, or what is worthy, in this case, "genre-defining." Up until now I've been able to talk myself into teaching what is notable, but how many kids have already read "The Gift of the Magi," or "The Necklace" in seventh grade? Maybe I'd be doing them a disservice by making them read it again. Maybe I should skip this type of ironic-ending story altogether?

Turgenev? Is he worth considering? When I think of Sketches from a Hunter's Album, I think of landscape pieces. If Chekhov is "The King" of the short story, then Turgenev is Ricky Nelson. Why bother trudging through Tugenev's landscapes when Chekhov's are more vibrant?

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