1. Discuss “Cathedral” in terms of James Joyce’s theory of epiphany (in the fiction section). What is the epiphany in the story? Who has it? How does the epiphany relate to the title? 2. Discuss the importance of tone in the story “Cathedral,” particularly the narrator’s tone. How does the tone affect the reader’s perception of theme? How does it enhance the epiphany? 3. Why is the meeting between Mala and Mrs. Croft in “The Third and Final Continent” a significant point in the relationship between the young husband and wife? 4. How does the moon landing relate to the overall theme of “The Third and Final Continent”? 5. Identify and discuss major themes in “The War Generation.” 6. Examine the use of flat characters in “The War Generation.” Which characters are flat, and how do they function to advance the story or accentuate the round characters? 7. What does the shawl in “The Shawl” symbolize? You may have more than one answer—that’s okay. 8. Look at the very unusual and surreal use of language and imagery in “The Shawl.” What does the author accomplish by presenting the story in such a way? How does this style relate to the subject matter? What are some specific examples from the story? 9. Is there anything interesting you noticed in your reading this time that I did not address in my questions?
1. The narrator hints at the end of “Lady with Lapdog” that the situation has just begun. Write a list of events that you believe would naturally follow if this story were to reach its “conclusion.” 2. Discuss the relationship between suffering and art (music) in “Sonny’s Blues.” 3. Discuss plot structure and the importance of flashbacks in “Sonny’s Blues.” How is the present action of the plot enhanced by the flashbacks? 4. Discuss the ways in which people try to escape in “Sonny’s Blues.” Are they successful? Is music an escape? Is heroine? Is teaching? 5. What are the major themes in “I Stand Here...