Raymond Carver, in the last ten years of his life revived the American Short Story as an art, as he is often compared to Anton Chekhov, the Russian master. He nearly died ten years earlier as he battled alcoholism, poverty, and the falling apart of his family. The story, “Why Don’t You Dance” uses the iceberg theory, normally associated with Ernest Hemingway’s fiction, to demonstrate that with a few words, the reader can tell much has happened before the story begins.
These lessons examine the arguments for dealing with adversity and overcoming obstacles. Students will read an excerpt from Raymond Carver’s biography where these themes are explored. The use of multimedia help teach the concept of the lesson. There are three versions of the story that students can view, not including a 2010 adaptation of the story by Will Ferrell called “Everything Must Go.”
In this resource there is a unique detailed rubric that can be used to score Socratic Seminars in a way that encourages organic fluid discussions. In the guide there is a step by step explanation on how to conduct a fish-bowl discussion with the rubric. An assessment essay from the 2009 AP English Language essay Question #3 on adversity is used which also has links to a rubric and student essay samples. Complete Common Core standards and Essential and Key Questions are included. All lessons have an opening, work session, and closing.
Tags: AP English Language, short story, Raymond Carver, argument, Socratic Seminar, alcoholism , adversity, American Literature, Common Core, fiction, biography , NPR, short films