Beyond IQ

Introduction to the American Short Story

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Language Arts
Emma Sobey
5-10 students
Suggested Ages: 13+ years old
 Thursdays, 10:00 to 11:00 am, 15 weeks. Starts Sept. 3.


“A good short story crosses the borders of our nations and our prejudices and our beliefs. A good short story asks a question that can’t be answered in simple terms.”

--Walter Mosley

America is a land of diversity and complexity. It is a land where many voices struggle be heard and accepted and a land where different personal experiences come together to form the fabric of American culture. In this course, we will use short stories as a jumping off point to discuss how the elements and themes within these stories encapsulate the spirit and complexity of American life while we also examine how the structure and elements of short stories function within the stories themselves. We will discover how they have come to represent American literature and its evolution as a major literary tradition. Above all, we will discuss, debate, and analyze the messages these stories offer to us as readers and how they affect our understanding of the world.


Session 1—What is a short story really all about?

Session 2—The City on a Hill: Puritan Ideology and The American Dream

Session 3—Looking at literature through a historical lens

Session 4—American Romanticism

Session 5—Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Session 6—Women in America

Session 7—More Women in America

Session 8—When the American Dream fails

Session 9—Southern Gothic

Session 10—Harlem Renaissance

Session 11—American Science Fiction

Session 12—America at War:  Vietnam and Disillusionment

Session 13—American Diversity pt. 1

Session 14—American Diversity pt. 2

Session 15—Where do we go from here?

Register for The American Short Story here!

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