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Response Essay: Kate Chopin, “The Storm,” 115

Response Essay: Kate Chopin, “The Storm,” 115

Essay Requirements:

  • Please reveal your connections to the story’s theme and answer the following question: How does the storm in the story reveal the theme?
  • Refer to Response Guidelines.

Format: double spaced, size 12, length 1000 to 1250 words, New Times Roman, MLA

Brief Explanation of the Response Guidelines:

Guideline #1: From the very first word of your response, reveal a specific incident from your experience that connects you to the story’s theme. This guideline requires insight and honesty, and it is personal. You are asked to find a personal connection to the theme (a main idea in the story), not to the characters, not to the plot or to the event. For instance, if a character in a story has a broken arm and you have had a broken arm, it is not valid for you to find specific connection in this coincidence. Look instead for meaning. For instance, if the story reveals the bitter sweetness of a specific circumstance, you should reveal the bitter sweetness of some decision or circumstance from your experience. Your challenge is to find your personal connection to the story’s idea (theme), not the activity of the characters or plot that reveal that idea or theme. These connections to your life can only be revealed when you tell your own story or stories. Generalized statements about living a fulfilling life only reveal our inability to face the truth. From the very first word of your response, reveal a specific incident from your experience that connects you to the story’s theme. You may reveal more than one. You should revisit your connections throughout your essay.

Guideline #2: Use appropriate vocabulary from the Vocabulary List to help find meaning. It is necessity for you to use vocabulary from the course Vocabulary List located on the Syllabus. Refer to the list as you write. The definitions for the words are located in the text’s Glossary of Literary Terms found in Part 4. Please use at least three terms in each short response, and please note that character and narration require that you use specific types of each to be given credit. Please note that you must use the vocabulary to help develop meaning. For instance, if you identify a character as dynamic, meaning the character has changed or experienced an epiphany, you will need to reveal the epiphany and the significance of the character’s change.

Guideline #3: Support your opinions with quotes and facts from the story and from your experience. In all of your written responses please support your opinions with quotes and facts from the story. For instance, reveal the information in the story that supports your opinion and use the quote(s) in your response. All quotes should be surrounded by quote marks: “John, who is a younger man, falls in love with Mary” (42). You should use the parenthetical page reference, that is, the page # in parenthesis indicating where the quote is located in the story. Please note the parenthetical page reference is included in the sentence, but not the quote.

Guideline #4: Do not reduce the theme of a story to one word or a cliche. Do not over simplify a story’s theme. For instance, stating that the story is about the meaning of life does not convey insight since most stories are about some facet of the meaning of the life. The theme of a story is best conveyed by using a specific example from your experience. Please do not minimize a story by reducing its meaning to a single word. For instance, many stories are concerned with hypocrisy, so to indicate in your response that the story is about hypocrisy is much too vague to be of any use. Instead, reveal specifically how this hypocrisy works in the story and, of course, support your opinion with quotations and facts from the story. Further demonstrate your connection by using a specific incident from your experience that reveals hypocrisy.

Guideline #5: Use the first person (I) when referring to your opinions, and do not use the second person (you) in its place. Take responsibility for your opinions: I feel this is true because…. Do not impose your personal opinions onto some unknown, second person you. Please use “I,” and do not use “you” in its place.

Guideline #6: Avoid generalizing. Absolutes, such as never and always are often difficult to support and are seldom accurate. Please avoid absolutes. Also, avoid unsupported statements concerning humanity’s behavior. If you write a statement in your response that looks or sounds anything like, “In society today. . . ,” your score will fall by at least one grade level, perhaps two. Please do not use plural pronouns, such as we, usthem, or they. Such pronouns generalize your response. Stick to the first person, “I.”

Guideline #7: Use the story’s title and the author’s first and last name at least once in your response. Once this is done you should refer to the author by only the last name or the appropriate pronoun.

  1. Example of first usage of author’s name: In his short story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway reveals ….
  2. Example of second usage of author’s name: Hemingway further implies that…

Guideline #8: Reveal a valid point. There are answers that can be supported and those for which valid support cannot be found. You must be able to support your opinions. Please do not retell the story.

Guideline #9 If you refer to the story or the author with the indefinite pronoun, it, (It says. . .) you will lose points. Please exploit your vocabulary; for instance, you will find that often the plot is carried by a narrative voice and a character’s reaction. Example: Bill reveals himself to be a liar and a hypocrite when he cheats to win a car race and later allows Sally to take the blame. Bill’s actions may support a specific thematic connection concerning hypocrisy under certain conditions. Please do not describe his actions with “it says.”


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