English literature

The canon of English literature is enormous. This course will focus on both contemporary and classic American, British and Canadian short stories and is perfect for an avid reader! All the required reading will be analyzed and discussed, one of the short stories will be adapted into a movie.

By the end of the course, your reading comprehension skills will have enhanced and you will be able to express your opinions about a text clearly and critically when discussing or presenting a theory. Given a short story to read in English, you will be able to locate key passages, look up challenging vocabulary and analyze the meaning of the text using the reader-response-theory. You will master the basics of literary analysis and you will have been introduced to new acquaintances in the field of literature.

Let your imagination go wild!

Evaluation (mandatory requirements):

  1. reading 15-20 short stories
  2. oral presentation + Prezi on one of the authors (in pairs)
  3. discussions and exercises in class
  4. final vocabulary quiz based on the Vocabulary Builder Quizlet
  5. film adaption: filming your chosen short story in groups and publishing your own movie on YouTube.com
    • Diplomas and awards for the most hard-working course participants!

Short Stories and Authors

  1. “Happy Endings” (1983) by Margaret Atwood
    • modern, plot lines, storytelling
  2. “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie” (1985) by Beryl Bainbridge
    • family relationships
  3. “Visiting Time” (2004) By Emma Brockes
    • crime and punishment
  4. “Greasy Lake” (1985) by T. Coraghessan Boyle
    • growing up, men
  5. “Hitting Budapest” (2010) by NoViolet Bulawayo
    • Africa
  6. “The Colorful Life of Calum McCall” (2007) by Ron Butlin
    • loss of innocence, the symbolism of colors, imagination vs. reality
  7. “The Story of an Hour” (1894) by Kate Chopin
    • freedom, female roles
  8. “The 9 Billion Names of God” (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke
    • science-fiction, apocalypse
  9. “Lamb to the Slaughter” (1953) by Roald Dahl
    • dark humor, crime
  10. “A Poetics for Bullies” (1965) by Stanley Elkins
    • bullying, friendship, men
  11. “Carapace” (1992) by Romesh Gunesekera
    • colonialism, heritage
  12. “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1936) by Ernest Hemingway
    • meaning of life, minimalism, death
  13. “The Lottery” (1948) by Shirley Jackson
    • human nature
  14. “Loose Change” (2004) by Andrea Levy
    • British society, poverty
  15. “The Hand That Feeds Me” (1998) by Michael Z. Lewin
    • crime, loyalty, justice
  16. “To Build A Fire” (1908) by Jack London
    • the wilderness, survival
  17. Short stories in The New Yorker by Haruki Murakami
    • Japanese culture and mysticism
  18. “Lucky” (1996) by Jane Rogers
    • love and crushes
  19. “The Chrysanthemums” (1937) by John Steinbeck
    • California
  20. “Two Kinds” (1989) by Amy Tan
    • Chinese-American identity
  21. “Everyday Use” (1973) by Alice Walker
    • roots, identity, culture
  22. “Weekend” (1978) by Fay Weldon
    • sexism, gender roles

When reading

  1. First enjoy the ride and let the story take you on a journey.
  2. Underline words you are unfamiliar with as you read.
  3. Go through the text again and try to guess the meaning of the words from context.
  4. Look up at least 1 unfamiliar word from the dictionary. These words will be compiled into an online vocabulary list that you will be quizzed on.
  5. Write down any questions or ideas that may have come up when you were reading the story. Underline parts that have made you feel something, whether it be disgust or delight. This is about your experience as a reader, there is no right or wrong!

Author Introductions

Prepare a Prezi (a cool zooming presentation webtool!) in pairs. Here are some headings you could use:

  • Biography
  • Bibliography and awards
  • Connections between the author’s life and his or her writing
  • Writing style and technique
  • Famous quotes
  • Sources (at least 5, NO Wikipedia!)

Literature links


  • Choose one of the short stories to film in groups. You can use your camera, cellphone or the school’s film camera for the project.
  • Write a script: key scenes and lines.
  • Cast the parts. Not everyone has to act, a film production requires a talented director, make-up artists, editors etc. Or you could do the whole thing as an animation by using Goanimate or some other free online animation tool.
  • Choose a location and start shooting
  • Edit and publish on YouTube.com or Vimeo.com.

The 2013 Oscars

  1. The Award for Best Movie goes to Roosa and Jasmin “The Hand that Feeds Me”
  2. The Award for Best Actor goes to Mikko Tukia
  3. The Award for Best Actress goes to Binty
  4. The Award for Best Lines goes to Daniel
  5. The Award for Best Reader and Active Commentator goes to Tatu, Leila and Timi

The 2012 Oscars

  1. The Award for Best Movie goes to “Cucumber to  the Slaughter” by Joel, Juska, Shabana Anni & Mariella.
  2. The Award for Best Actor goes to Joel.
  3. The Award for Best Script goes to Bige.



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