Short Story Debate


You are required to read the short story assigned to you.  You have been assigned a role in The Greatest Short Story Debate; familiarize yourself with the responsibilities associated with your role.  You will be responsible to execute your responsibility in front of the class.


Four roles must be executed during the debate:

The Orator 
One person is responsible for explaining the story to the class.  The student must appear sincere, excited even, to express why your short story is the best of all time.  Including information about the author may prove to be helpful, after all a writer writes about what she/he knows.  The manner in which you express the strengths of the story is contingent upon how you feel the narrative is best presented to the class as the greatest short story of all time.

The Artist
Another role requires a person to design and produce a poster depicting your story’s title, author, a selected passage that best expresses the story’s theme and a scene which incorporates literary devices to display the story’s greatness.  Naturally your poster should be the greatest poster ever.

The Defender
This responsibility requires you to be accountable to field criticism from your classmates based on how they interpret your story’s weaknesses.  The disparagement against your story is not to be personal, yet the criticism may appear sharp.  You will need to consider your stories weaknesses and be prepared to defend attacks against your story.  The individual defending the story cannot rely on support from other students who have read the same story.  Your ability to appear composed and sensible will be important skills for this role.

The Critic
The final responsibility is to thoughtfully listen to the other stories, identify apparent weaknesses of each story and pose questions that must be addressed by the person defending each story.  Each individual criticizing a story will be responsible for two questions, a question or observation will be voiced and the other cynics will follow with their criticism followed by another round of questions.  If another group asks your question, you must have another inquiry prepared.  Your responsibility is to uncover weaknesses in the story that you are questioning; do not ask

Your assessment is valued as a performance grade (300 points).  Your assessment also is individual regardless of the apparent cooperative nature of the assignment.

The Stories:

Rocking-Horse Winner
By:  D.H. Lawrence

The Bear
By:  William Faulkner

A Good Man Is Hard To Find
BY: Flannery O’Connor

Death in the Woods
By:  Sherwood Anderson

A Mother’s Tale
By:  James Agee

The National Pastime
By:  John Cheever