As English Short Stories Summary

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UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL EXAMINATIONS

AS LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: SYLLABUS 9695

NOTES FOR TEACHERS ON STORIES SET FOR STUDY FROM

STORIES OF OURSELVES: THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL EXAMINATIONS ANTHOLOGY OF SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH

FOR EXAMINATION IN JUNE AND NOVEMBER 2010, 2011 AND 2012

CONTENTS

Introduction: How to use these notes
1. The Fall of the House of Usher Edgar Allen Poe
2. The Open Boat Stephen Crane
3. The Door in the Wall HG Wells
4. The People Before Maurice Shadbolt
5. A Horse and Two Goats RK Narayan
6. Journey Patricia Grace
7. To Da-Duh, In Memoriam Paule Marshall
8. Of White Hairs and Cricket Rohinton Mistry
9. Sandpiper Ahdaf Soueif
10. Tyres Adam Thorpe These notes are intended to give some background information on each author and/or story as an aid to further research and to stimulate discussion in the classroom.

They are intended only as a starting point and are no substitute for the teacher’s and student’s own study and exploration of the texts. Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
The Fall of the House of Usher

This is one of the most famous gothic stories from one of the masters of the genre and contains many of the traditional elements of the genre, including horror, death, medievalism, an ancient building and signs of great psychological disturbance. The mood of oppressive melancholy is established at the opening of the story and here readers may note an acknowledgement of the appeal of gothic fiction: while there is fear and horror, the shudder is ‘thrilling’ and the ‘sentiment’ is ‘half-pleasurable’.

At the centre of the story are mysteries, about the psychological state of Usher himself and about his sister’s illness and death. The story only offers hints and suggestions; there is an ‘oppressive secret’, while the sister, buried in a strangely secure vault, returns as if risen from the dead to claim her brother. In archetypal gothic fashion, a raging storm of extreme violence mirrors the destruction of the

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