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For tonight’s assignment, you will read two stories and respond to questions that require you to compare and contrast their story elements. You might wish to refer back to the  that you learned last class. 

The two stories are:  by Hernando Tellez and , by Ernest Hemingway. They have many similarities in their story elements, for instance, point of view, mood, and setting, but also many differences.

TASKS: After reading the two stories, answer the questions below in full paragraphs and submit your answers  via the [Submit] button on this page.

  1. Each of these stories has an unnamed, first-person narrator  (the “I” voice that is telling the story), and that narrator is also the story’s protagonist. Describe each protagonist as thoroughly as you can: what can you tell about their personality from the story? Are they flat or round, static or dynamic? What, if anything, do the two protagonists have in common? How are they different?
  2. Neither of the two stories has any falling action.  What effect does that have on the story? Why do you think an author might choose to structure their story in that way?
  3. Discuss the similarities and differences in the two stories’ settings.
  4. What is the theme of “Just Lather, That’s All”? What is the theme of “The Old Man at the Bridge”? What do they have in common?
  5. Choose one of the two stories and write a 150-word personal response explaining how you would have behaved if you were the protagonist, and why. Make sure you make clear references to the story you chose.



Click on the image below to open and read the story “Totem” by Thomas King:

 Create a document (either Word or Docs), and answer the following questions:

PART A) Story Elements

  1. Who or what is the antagonist? Are they round or flat? Static or dynamic?
  2. What conflict type(s) are in the story?
  3. What is the mood of the story?
  4. What are the rising action, climax, and falling action in this story?
  5. From which point of view is the story told?
  6. Who or what is the protagonist in this story? Are they round or flat? Static or dynamic?
  7. What is the story’s setting?
  8. What is the author’s tone?

PART B) Deeper Understanding

  1. Watch this video to gain a full understanding of the literary device ‘symbolism’. “Totem” is a symbolic story; what do you think that the totem pole and the museum are symbols for? Do you notice any other symbols in the story?   *note* It is okay to do research on this if you need to get some ideas, but make sure that you close your sources before you begin writing your answer, so that what you write is completely in your own words. And, if you do research, make sure to include the URL of your sources.

       2. What might this story be saying about the difference between tolerance and acceptance? How might the museum staff have shown acceptance of the totem? Explain, with examples from the story.

       3. What is King’s theme in “Totem”? Why would he choose to express it in a story instead of another genre, such as a lecture or article?