Since the COVID pandemic, we are all proof that the environment we live in has had an impact on the way we live, work, feel, learn, teach, and communicate with others.



Since the COVID pandemic, we are all proof that the environment we live in has had an impact on the way we live, work, feel, learn, teach, and communicate with others.

This experience is no less different in the fictional characters you’ve met in three short stories. Jonathan, Mrs. Johnson, Dee, and Tessie’s lives are all disrupted by external factors. 

Your second essay is a literary analysis of  two stories we discussed in Modules 2 and  3 to answer the question: what is the impact of the environment on individuals? You will take a closer look at your selected pieces to examine the historical, societal, and familial contexts that prompt the  main characters  to act a certain way.

Your first step after choosing one short story is to select one character. Then, focus on how the character acts in the story and the historical societal, familaial contexts  that make her, him, them act that way.

For instance, explain how Dee is portrayed as a villain by Mrs. Johnson, the narrator, but do research to show how the 1970’s context has impacted Dee, the character, with the Civil Rights movement, traveling to Africa as Alice Walker testifies in her interview, changing her appearance to be true to her African roots in opposition to the history of slavery in the US, and obtaining a college education that allows such enlightment.  Granted, Dee was probably that way to start with in her mother’s eyes.

Consider  the literary elements the author uses to create that environment.  Your choice may vary among the ones we discussed in class: plot, characterization, setting, point of view, symbols,  and foreshadowing. Literary elements are also worth being analyzed  to explain how they enable the reader to gain a better comprehension of the impact of the environment on the characters. 

For example, Tessie in “The Lottery” lives in an interconnected village community where everyone has a job and where sacrificing one member is not a problem until it’s her turn. The narration itself plays into that belief by planting clues of a peaceful, harvest-time gathering blurred with spots of a black box and kids gathering stones. Pull from the story to show that Tessie has been participating in the yearly lotteries without complaining, that she stayed true to her housewife role and good neighbor. Then, do research to show what 1948, the year the story was published, was like in the US after women gave up their jobs to GIs when they returned after WW2, what it is like to live in a society where men are in charge even though women won the right to vote in 1920, and finally, what is it like if our close relatives aka husband and children do not offer any support to you? Can you imagine your own relatives turning their backs on you?

Those are questions I d like you to delve in. If you have a habit of feeding an AI software with essay prompts, one strategy to engage in critical thinking is to first answer the above questions on your own, then compare your answers to what the bot would generate as  it is done in the  project named Classroom-Ready Resources About AI For Teaching (); for  example,  asking students to “draw on their own first” (Goth Ikoi) then compare with what the system generates to start exploring other perspectives. In a sense, AI becomes a valuable member of a conversation in the same vein as when you do research and invite researchers’ voices to the conversation.

Required word count 

Essay #2  1,200 words– text analysis (10%)

Material needed

1.Choose one short story among “


” “


and “ 

2.The class lectures on the short stories

3.One or two external sources from the  such as  and 

Since the COVID pandemic, we are all proof that the environment we live in has had an impact on the way we live, work, feel, learn, teach, and communicate with others.

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