short story discussion about shifting perspective
Have you ever created a situation in your mind that turned out to be totally different from what you had imagined? Perhaps you thought someone smiling at you from across a room was interested in you romantically, but it turned out that they thought you were someone they knew from someplace else. Perhaps you thought someone waving at you was actually waving at someone behind you.
Your perspective, or state of mind, magnifies situations in a particular way. Postmodern writers are particularly interested in this idea and like to experiment with shifting reality based on perspective.
Read the story “The Far and Near” by Thomas Wolfe on page 67 in your American Short Stories anthology.
From the list below, choose two perspectives from which to describe the feelings and events of meeting that takes place at the end of the story.
- The mother
- The daughter
- The train conductor
- A neighbor or bystander who watched the meeting but was not involved
Part A: For each perspective you choose, create 1 to 2 paragraphs describing the thoughts and feelings that each character may be feeling. In each case, use first person point-of-view (“I”) as though the event happened to you and you are the character you selected.
Part B: Write one paragraph to show how changing perspectives changes the story. Discuss why authors might choose to use shifting perspectives to tell a story. Use details from the story to support your position.