American Literature and Honors American Literature

On-level: Select four (4) of the eleven literary works listed below and complete the following assignment for each short story:  

Honors: Select six (6) of the eleven literary works listed below and complete the following assignment for each short story:  

(Note: Lexile levels are listed in parentheses next to the text. Be sure to select stories that are at or above your Lexile level.) 

  • “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving (1070L) 
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe (820L) 
  • “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe (1240L) 
  • “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Ernest Hemingway (730L) 
  • “Cat in the Rain” by Ernest Hemingway (730L) 
  • “The Winnowing” by Isaac Asimov (850L) 
  • “Kaleidoscope” by Ray Bradbury (890L) 
  • “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (970L) 
  • “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (600L) 
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (930L) 
  • “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver (590L) 

For each of the four short stories you choose, complete the following response (can be written or typed): 

A complete and thorough response includes: 

  • Two complete paragraphs (6-8 sentences each) 
    • Paragraph 1: A brief, chronological summary of the work 
    • Paragraph 2: A response to one of the prompts below 
  • You may only respond to each prompt ONCE; choose a different one for each text you read 
  • Evidence from the text, whether direct or paraphrased 

Prompt Options:

1. What connections can you make with your reading? (What prior reading, movies, life experiences, etc., can you relate to the work?)  

2. What is an emotional response you had to the work?  

3. Is there a character you identify with? Which one and why?  

4. What is the most significant or meaningful passage in the work? What makes the passage so important?  

5. Is there anything you find confusing about the work? Discuss.  

6. Is there a contemporary connection you can make? What is it? Explain.  

7. What beliefs, ideas, issues or values are expressed in the work?  

8. What parts of the work seem realistic? What parts seem unrealistic, and why?  

9. What does the work say about America and/or the American Dream? 

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