Thursday, February 3, 2011

Prompts for "The Dumb Man" and "A Story"

Both "The Dumb Man" and "A Story" deal with a topic we have been discussing in class, namely the inability to communicate. One thing I find interesting, however, is that the narrator in Anderson's story and the speaker in Lee's poem both do communicate something even as they insist that they cannot. Lee's poem ends by saying "a boy's supplications / and a father's love add up to silence," but the poem itself has not been silent. The last line of "The Dumb Man" is "I have a wonderful story to tell but no way to tell it," but hasn't the narrator, in fact, just old us a story?

Why do you think these writers use silence as a motif and as a way of framing a story? You can talk about either one of the pieces or both.

Once you've read both pieces a few times (but not before), go here and watch the short film. I'll be interested to hear how it affected your ideas and feelings about Anderson's story.

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