Literature - What's the Point of Short Stories?

Ref: C2339465

As with the previous course, our learning journey will progress from traditional authors to more modern exponents. Featured authors include Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, H E Bates; as well as more modern authors: Zadie Smith, Helen Simpson. Other requested genres may include Science Fiction, and Latin American authors, such as Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortazar. We will examine what links and distinguishes the stories – as well as the social and psychological implications of the works. One theme we can explore suggests itself: gender stereotypes triggered by Hemingway and H E Bates and questioned and challenged by Zadie Smith and Helen Simpson. We will also look at writing techniques and discuss how particular effects are suggested.

Course aim

We will examine a range of short stories which have been suggested and requested by the group. We will discuss common themes and styles, as well as literary techniques.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • distinguish between objective and subjective appraisals of the works studied
  • identify key themes and structures in the chosen titles discuss and comment on the literary effects used by the authors in the chosen titles
  • select passages for close reading, which illustrate key points and opinions
  • participate in readings, presentations, discussions and debate with others
  • relate the course’s subject-matter to wider social, political and cultural contexts

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • The tutor may send out some pre-course reading to those who sign up for the course in advance.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

Literature - What's the Point of Short Stories?


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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