Short Story suggestions that intrigue college freshmen.I have introduced "The Yellow Wallpaper", "A Rose for Emily", "The Birthmark" and "Young Goodman Brown". Most of them enjoy these stories with...

Short Story suggestions that intrigue college freshmen.

I have introduced "The Yellow Wallpaper", "A Rose for Emily", "The Birthmark" and "Young Goodman Brown". Most of them enjoy these stories with the exception of "The Birthmark". My background is in mid 19th century British novel, so I am not versed, as I should be, in short story fiction. Does anyone have any tried and true stories that their students respond to on a regular basis? This is a basic composition class, but I feel I should be able to expose them to good short fiction.

Expert Answers
susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I enjoy teaching short stories.  My favorites include O'Connell's "Most Dangerous Game,"Wolfe's "Child By Tiger," Jackson's "The Lottery," Wharton's "Roman Fever."

Each of these short stories has its own appeal.  "Most Dangerous Game" is plot oriented with the underdog winning.  It is filled with action and suspense.  "Child by Tiger" is more serious fiction, dealing with racial relations post-Civil War in the South.  It involves a manhunt as well as the former, but the themes are deeper and the characters more complex.  Of course, "The Lottery" works well with any group of students.  It has a wonderful twist at the end that shocks the readers.  Wharton's "Roman Fever" works nicely too.  At first it seems to be an innocent conversation between two middle-aged women.  It is anything but!  Students love the dark undertones that portray the deadly rivalry between the two women.  Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" is wonderful as well.  Though dated, the story shows the tension between a man and woman when one wants a commitment and the other does not.

jashley80 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 I teach high school, but I believe that Ursula LeGuin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is definitely college-level. It is brief, yet compelling, and an excellent example of a short satirical writing to get students' brains pumping. It has also been a good way to get students writing creatively. They can be asked to write an origins story for the town and how it became "utopian," as well as write the story of a character (in first person) who did walk away. They have also selected topics of interest to themselves and written short satirical pieces (mainly AP 12th grade).

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My students really respond well to most of the short stories by Flannery O'Connor.  They especially like "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People."  Those two have kind of surprising/shocking endings, but there is lots to have them look at throughout the story.  I have also had a lot of success with "Revelation" and "Everything that Rises Must Converge."  Those stories deal with self-perception and self-actualization-- things the students are dealing with for themselves.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to put a word in for "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell, as well as anything by Poe (specifically “The Count of Amonitllado” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”.  These stories are seriously creepy, so they will engage students from the get-go.  They also bring up critical issues to our society, and spark great debates.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I concur with "Goodman Brown" and "Everything that Rises."  I've taught "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Kafka's "The Hunger Artist" with success, as well.  "The Jewelry" by Guy de Maupassant is another one students enjoy.  Sorry, I'm in composition and research  mode; I'll come back if I think of more.   

serafina57 | Student
Short Story suggestions that intrigue college freshmen.

I have introduced "The Yellow Wallpaper", "A Rose for Emily", "The Birthmark" and "Young Goodman Brown". Most of them enjoy these stories with the exception of "The Birthmark". My background is in mid 19th century British novel, so I am not versed, as I should be, in short story fiction. Does anyone have any tried and true stories that their students respond to on a regular basis? This is a basic composition class, but I feel I should be able to expose them to good short fiction.

Hi Melissa:  You might want to explore Raymond Carver's short stories.  I recommend A Small, Good Thing, Cathedral, and Errand.  Carver's spiritual mentor was Anton Chekhov, lots to read about this, soooo interesting.  Errand is a short story about Chekhov's final days, based on Carver's non-fiction research.  Carver was also inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, he used the scenes that Hopper created as settings for his stories.  Good luck, let me know what you think!

Serafina

profdotson | Student

I have taught "The Storm" and "The Story of an Hour"  These are very short and they get students to discuss forever because they are so struck by what these women do and think.  Both stories leave them wondering about a lot of things and it gets them to analyze character a great deal.  They are fun stories with moral implications to the actions that the main character take.  They are also about seeking freedom--but not necessarily in the most conventional means.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question