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Popular Short Stories by Famous Women Authors

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/17/2012

If you're looking to teach famous women authors, begin with these popular short stories.

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    These popular short stories by famous women authors delight and captivate.

    1. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson - Very few things shock teens. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is one of them.
      • The short story plays on the concept of scapegoating. Some ideas include showing sports clips of famous blunders (Bill Buckner or Bartman, for example). You could also discuss modern day examples of scapegoating--blaming things on the government, teachers, parents, other races, etc. This lesson plan works well.
    2. "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin - A young married woman learns of her husband's tragic death and secretly revels in her freedom until she discovers he was no where near the sight of the tragedy.
      • Think irony. Teach and discuss the different types of irony. Instruct students to identify examples of irony, the type of irony, explain the irony, and show mastery by analyzing the author's purpose in using irony
    3. "Geraldine Moore the Poet" by Toni Cade Bambara - Geraldine Moore's life stinks and her teacher wants her to write a poem for homework.
      • A great way to begin a poetry unit, "Geraldine Moore the Poet" is an inspiring story about a girl who doesn't see the value in school. After reading the story, assign students to write a poem based on their experiences.
    4. "Every Day Use" by Alice Walker - Dee returns home and wishes to have two quilts that reflect her African-American heritage but is disappointed to find out they are intended for her younger sister, Maggie, who intends to put them to every day use.
      • Focus on conflict and character motivation. Maggie gets the quilts because her mother feels she appreciates them more. Is she correct?
    5. "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett - Sylvia is torn between leading a hunter to the nest of a rare white heron and collecting 10 dollars and letting the bird live.
    6. "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing - A vacationing lad with an overly protective mother strives to swim through an under water tunnel to prove his manhood.

    Think symbolism and coming of age. Mature audiences will recognize aspects of the story that are inappropriate for some.