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An intelligent, relevant, and lively new introduction to fiction builds on the success of its parent text, Understanding Literature. With accessible discussions of historical and cultural contexts and critical approaches, biographical information, and a stimulating table of contents, Understanding Fiction offers instructors and students an innovative option in anthologies. Accompanied by the Understanding Literature CD-ROM and Web Site, Understanding Fiction enriches the reading experience, enhances critical thinking, and promotes mastery in writing about fiction.
I. Form and Content
1. Introduction: Reading Fiction
Characteristics of Fiction
The History of Prose Fiction
Analyzing and Interpreting
2. Overview: The Formal Elements of Fiction
Critical Perspectives: Formalism and New Criticism
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Birthmark"
Critical Perspective: Psychological Criticism
Critical Perspective: Myth Criticism
Stories About Character
Herman Melville, "Bartleby the Scrivener"
Sarah Orne Jewett, "The Flight of Betsey Lane"
Critical Perspective: New Historicism
Stories About Setting
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher"
Guy de Maupassant, "Paul''s Mistress"
Mark Twain, "Story of the Bad Little Boy"
Plot Versus Story
Plot and Chronology
Types of Plot
Realism and Naturalism
Jack London, "The Law of Life"
Jack London, "To Build a Fire"
Ambrose Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
6. The Narrator and Point of View
Point of View
Critical Perspective: Gender and Point of View
Critical Perspective: Secrets, Sexuality, and Interpretation
Willa Cather, "Paul''s Case"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wall-Paper"
Kate Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"
Critical Perspective: Race Criticism
Critical Perspective: Marxist Criticism
Stories About Race and Class
Alice Walker, "Everyday Use"
Featured Writer: James Baldwin
Issues of Class
Tillie Olsen, "I Stand Here Ironing"
II. Image, Style, Structure
8. Reading Image and Style Closely
Critical Perspective: Semiotics
Honoré de Balzac, "Sarrasine"
9. Image, Motif, and Symbol
Image and Motif
Critical Perspective: On Imagery
Joseph Conrad, "Heart of Darkness"
E.M. Forster, "The Road from Colonus"
Katherine Mansfield, "The Garden-Party"
D.H. Lawrence, "The Horse-Dealer''s Daughter"
James Joyce, "Araby"
Featured Writer: Virginia Woolf
10. Language and Style
Critical Perspective: On Style
Critical Perspectives: Close Readings and Deconstructive Readings
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited"
Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants"
Gertrude Stein, "Miss Furr and Miss Skeen"
Style as Substance
Featured Writer: William Faulkner
"A Rose for Emily"
Critical Perspective: On Tone
Stories About Tone
Zora Neale Hurston, "Sweat"
Flannery O''Connor, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
W. S. Penn, "In Dreams Begins Reality"
Critical Perspectives: Structuralism and Psychoanalytic Criticism
Stories About Structure
Chinua Achebe, "The Sacrificial Egg"
Anita Desai, "Studies in the Park"
Hanif Kureishi, "Blue, Blue Pictures of You"
III. Reading and Interpreting
13. The Perils of Interpretation
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Purloined Letter"
Desire and Interpretation
Critical Perspective: Reader Response Criticism
Parables of Reading and Desire, or Seeing What You Want to See
Franz Kafka, "A Hunger Artist"
Jorge Luis Borges, "The Shape of the Sword"
Gabriel García Márquez, "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World"
Reading and Misreading
María Cristina Mena, "The Vine-Leaf"
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, "The Hidden Woman"
Dorothy Parker, "The Waltz"
14. Questions of Perception and Representation: Postmodernism
Critical Perspective: On Postmodernism
Julio Cortázar, "Blow-Up"
Italo Calvino, "Mr. Palomar on the Beach: Reading a Wave"
Michelle Cliff, "The Store of a Million Items"
Critical Perspective: On Metanarrative
Rudolfo Anaya, "A Story"
Joyce Carol Oates, "How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again"
Samuel Beckett, "The Calmative"
Featured Writer: Salman Rushdie
"The Free Radio"
"At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers"
Collage and Pastiche
Critical Perspective: An Example of Criticism Focused on Intertextuality
Paul Auster, "Ghosts"
Mark Leyner, Selections from My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist
17. Fiction Across Media: Film
Adaptation, Translation, Transliteration
Case Study: Blow Up
18. The Limits of Fiction: Autobiography
Fiction and Nonfiction
Mark Twain, from The Autobiography of Mark Twain
Carl Van Vechten, "A Note on Breakfasts"
Jean Rhys, "Chorus Girls"
Chester Himes, from The Quality of Hurt
W.S. Penn, "This Close, Coyote"
Nicole Brossard, from Surfaces of Sense
19. Writing Communities: The Beats
William S. Burroughs, "The Finger"
Diane di Prima, from Memoirs of a Beatnik
Jack Kerouac, "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose"
Jack Kerouac, "The First Word: Jack Kerouac Takes a Fresh Look at Jack Kerouac"
20. Stories for Further Reading
Anton Chekhov, "The Lady with the Dog"
Katherine Mansfield, "This Flower"
William Faulkner, "Barn Burning"
Chester Himes, "Lunching at the Ritzmore"
Hisaye Yamamoto, "Seventeen Syllables"
Richard Wright, "The Man Who Was Almost a Man"
Doris Lessing, "A Woman on the Roof"
John Updike, "A & P"
IV. Writing About Literature
21. Writing about Literature
Getting Ready, Making Decisions
Revision and Final Thoughts
22. Writing about Fiction
An Ongoing Conversation
Drafting Your Essay
Sample Student Essay
23. Writing a Research Paper
Notes and Works Cited
Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.
Instructor's Resource Manual