Introduction to Literary Context: American Short Fiction by Salem Press

By Salem Press

Advent to Literary Context: American brief Fiction highlights major American brief fiction that's studied via highschool and undergraduate students. This quantity contains dialogue of 39 works of brief fiction, together with: Bluebeard's Egg (Margaret Atwood); every little thing that Rises needs to Converge (Flannery O'Connor); woman (Jamaica Kincaid); pass Down, Moses (William Faulkner); I Stand the following Ironing (Tillie Olson); Runaway (Alice Munro); Sonny's Blues (James Baldwin); Sweat (Zora Neale Hurston); The Haunting of Hill condominium (Shirley Jackson); the tale of an Hour (Kate Chopin); The Swimmer (John Cheever); to construct a hearth (Jack London); and you are gruesome, Too (Lorrie Moore).

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Montresor’s emphasis on his family’s coat of arms and his own membership in the Freemasons, however, suggests his tale could take place much earlier—perhaps as early as the Italian Renaissance, a period marked by tremendous conflict and intrigue between both noble families and independent city-states. During the Renaissance, the fortunes of families such as Fortunato’s and Montresor’s might easily rise and fall dramatically within a generation or two. In any event, by leaving his tale’s temporal setting open to interpretation, Poe enhances its nightmarishly disorienting quality.

The progression of stories ends with a depiction of the narrator as becoming quieter, more withdrawn, settled into her “gloom,” while her mother keeps busy around her; there are few stories to tell of this time. indd 19 19/10/13 12:14 AM 20 | Introduction to Literary Context: American Short Fiction behind on her taxes, the accountant represents someone who might take care of her. She also likes the way the accountant sees her: as creative and successful, in contrast to the way the poets treat her as a dim-witted mother.

After Fortunato suffers a coughing fit, Montresor announces that they must leave the noxious vaults. His ironic declaration at once provides further insight into Fortunato’s apparent offense against him, eases his own conscience somewhat, and makes certain they will remain where they are: “‘Come,’ I said, with decision, ‘we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you are ill, and I cannot be responsible.

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