In my last post, I briefly mentioned a World Literature class that I am taking this semester. Per the suggestion from a comment on the post, I’d like to expand on that a little this week.
Throughout the course, we read short stories and then meet in a small group to discuss the stories. The discussions are guided with questions about the novel and our reactions to it, but the conversations are always natural and never forced. We’ve been looking at many different short stories, analyzing them for plot, character, point of view, theme, setting, symbols, tone, and style.
So far, we’ve read the works of Dagoberto Gilb, Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Alice Walker, Ernest Hemingway, Kate Chopin, Katherine Min, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, and Sherman Alexie.
One of my favorite stories that we’ve read is “Birthday Girl” by Haruki Murakami. It tells the story of a girl who works at a restaurant with a mysterious owner that only one of the employees has ever seen. One day, on her 20th birthday, she gets tasked with serving him dinner and is scared of what he might be like. However, after serving his food, he invites her in and tells her that he will grant any wish that she wants. The owner is very surprised by her answer, and says that he thought she would wish for something of material value, such as money, fame, or power. However, throughout the story it is never revealed what she actually wished for. After we read the story, we talked in class about what we thought the wish might have been.
I have enjoyed many of the short stories that we have read so far, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this class.