From Electric English...
This is an annotation and close reading activity intended to lead discussion about the article, "The Irony of Despair". The assignment, not only asks students to annotate, but also to evaluate the meaning of the article using the SOAPSTone method. A discussion about how people handle loss and feelings of hopelessness pairs very well with Cather's story "A Wagner Matinee". Whether you or your students agree with the opinions set forth in the essay is immaterial, in fact, hopefully there will be a wide range of opinions about the text to facilitate discussion. I was surprised by some of the insightful comments my students made when asked to consider this material; hopefully, you will be too :)
NOTE: There is a FREE copy of "A Wagner Matinee" in my store under the heading, Short Story Analysis - A Wagner Matinee. Use it for whatever you need :)