Part One: Several of our works this week portray significant or 

Part One: Several of our works this week portray significant or complex relationships between characters. Choose one that stood out to you as particularly moving or engaging. Describe the relationship and explain its personal resonance with you.

Part One: Several of our works this week portray significant or

Part One: Several of our works this week portray significant or complex relationships between characters. Choose one that stood out to you as particularly moving or engaging. Describe the relationship and explain its personal resonance with you.

Part Two: Research one of this week’s authors and tell us what about his or her biography struck you as being reflective of issues in the work. Be sure to cite all biographical information you report.

Part Three: Post-modern work is sometimes ambiguous. In O’Brien’s story we meet a group of soldiers. How do you think this story ends based on what you see in this short excerpt? What clues can you tease out of the chapter to give an indication of where this story might be headed?

O’Brien’s work focuses on Cacciato before he becomes AWOL.

Therefore, you are tasked with ‘guessing’ about what happens next after reading this short section.  If you prefer, you can focus on why Cacciato says this at the end of the story: “You will.  You got a terrific sense of humor”

This week’s readings
Flannery O’Connor: Author Bio Flannery O’Connor: “Good Country People” Tim O’Brien: Author interview Tim O’Brien: from “Going after Cacciato” Joyce Carol Oates: Author Bio Joyce Carol Oates: from “Blonde”
Theodore Roethke: “My Papa’s Waltz”

Flannery O’Connor: was born in Savannah, Georgia on March 25, 1925. She faced several hardships growing up, including the loss of her father to systemic lupus erythematous. O’Connor attended the University of Iowa for a master’s degree beginning in 1945. During this time, in 1946, she published her first story, “The Geranium.” O’Connor graduated in 1947 and pursued her writing career. She ventured to Yaddo, a Saratoga Springs, New York artists’ retreat where she spent a couple of months. In 1952, O’Connor published her first novel, Wise Blood.

Having grown up as a Catholic in the south, several of her works were based around religion.

For example, her first two novels’ main characters were preachers of some sort. Her short stories are what O’Connor was best-known for. Published collections include A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965). Sadly, like her father, O’Connor died battling lupus. She died on August 3, 1964 in Milledgeville, Georgia. She received several honors for her works and literary contributions, including an O’Henry award in 1957 and the National Book Award in 1972.

Tim O’Brien: was born in Austin, Minnesota on October 1, 1946 and grew up in Worthington, Minnesota. In 1968, in addition to receiving his degree in political science from Macalester College, O’Brien also found himself with a draft notice. Although he was against the war, his next step after graduation was military service in Vietnam. As an army foot soldier he earned a Purple Heart for his actions in Southeast Asia. After Vietnam, he attended graduate school at Harvard, being one of the few Vietnam veterans there at the time. He eventually left Harvard to become a newspaper reporter after doing an internship at the Washington Post. O’Brien’s career as a reporter paved the way for his fiction writing. His first three books are also based on his experience in Vietnam and include:

If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
Northern Lights
Going after Cacciato

Going after Cacciato was well-received and won several awards.

In 1990, O’Brien published The Things They Carried, another novel about the Vietnam war. O’Brien’s other works have addressed different topics, such as nuclear war, but without the same strength, impact, and reception of his early books. Tim O’Brien is now a visiting professor at Southwest Texas State University where he teaches in the creative writing program. He is also on the advisory board for the Ridenhour Prizes.

Joyce Carol Oates: was born in Lockport, New York on June 16, 1938. She grew up on a farm. Sometimes, times were tough as she was developing her love for literature and writing. As a teen, she received her first typewriter and endless support from her parents as she chose her career to write. Oates earned a scholarship to attend Syracuse University and in 1960, she graduated from there as valedictorian. She moved on to receive her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1961.

That same year, she wed another English student from the school, Raymond Smith. Initially, she began teaching at the University of Detroit, but then she and her husband moved to Canada. She did work for the University of Windsor in Canada and then she and her husband went to work as co-editors of the quarterly publication of The Ontario Review. By the late 1970s, she was teaching at the University of Princeton.

Throughout all the moves and career changes, Oates was still writing.

In 1963, she had her first published book of short stories, By the North Gate, and her debut novel was published in 1964, With Shuddering Fall. In 1969, also her book Them won a National Book Award. Her 26th novel, We Were the Mulvaney’s (1996), was a book selected for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club. Both her novels The Falls (2004) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2007) were New York Times best-sellers. Oates has also written under the pseudonyms of Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly.

To further prove her success in the world of literature, Oates was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and 1978, and she has also been awarded the Prix Femina Etranger and the Pushcart Prize. In 2008, Oates’ husband died unexpectedly of pneumonia-related complications. She suffered tremendously and detailed her grief in the memoir A Widow’s Story. She remarried in 2009 to Professor Charles Gross. As late as 2013, Oates is still contributing her talents to literature. She also published Daddy Love, a novel recounting an experience of a kidnapped boy, and The Accursed, a Gothic tale that looks at Woodrow Wilson’s time as President of Princeton.

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