Short Stories

What can I learn about humanity, literature and myself from studying short stories?

Why Take This Course?

Studying short stories gives students a chance to cover many issues in one course.

Studying short stories gives students a chance to cover many issues in one course.

Why are some people willing to commit selfish, atrocious acts to serve themselves? Why are some willing to heroically give their lives to protect others? What is the source of social conflict? Is all conflict in your life merely a manifestation of the conflict in your own heart?

The short story, as a literary genre, is uniquely able to cast sunlight onto these important questions. As we study the characters, themes, symbolism and principles in short stories, we become more awakened to the same in our own lives. The journey from innocence to experience is not easy. Choosing this Language Arts course means choosing to be pained, inspired and changed.

Course Framework

Unit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4
How do choices lead to decisions with significant consequences?How can family relationships establish expectations that have many possible results?How do physical, political and social changes influence people personally?How does romantic love develop and what is the result?
How do short story authors provide mystery and intrigue in the short story medium?What are the priorities in family life?How does external change influence the lives of people who are seemingly unconnected?How does romantic love develop and what makes it become strong or weak?
Why do people believe in fate?What causes unity and disunity in a family?How does change in the body influence emotions of the victim and of others?What characterizes the feelings associated with being young and in love?
How do people show wisdom and folly in the face of nature?What is the role of loyalty in a family?How can people in positions of leadership directly influence the life experience of those they lead?What happens during a break-up and why does it hurt so much?
How does choice relate to fate?How does equity work in a family?How does tradition influence societies and individuals?Why do people romanticize people they are attracted to and what is the result of doing so?
How can an author use fiction and story to satirize life?How can sibling relationships be important to families?How could a change of physical space influence people in that environment?What are the signs of genuine love?
What limits the choices of young people?What is the interplay between individual needs and the needs of the family?How does physical and political stress influence behavior and even consciousness?What are positive results that can happen from unrequited young love?
How do we make choices when faced with moral gray areas?How does the Usher family dynamic relate to the fall of the house?How strong (or weak) can human beings be in the face of difficult changes to their physical and psychological environment?Does love always require sacrifice?
How can I develop a 5-paragraph essay to answer a meaningful question about the text of one short story?How can I create a story similar to those we read in this class?

Texts and Materials Students Must Purchase

  • Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
  • Readings Packet-Provided by Williamsburg


  • Recommended Grade: 11th (Junior)
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Versions & Estimated Weekly Hours: Classic: 5 Hours / Honors: 7 Hours
  • Format: Live/Self-Paced
  • Credits: 0.5

*We recommend students take this course in conjunction with Government & Economics B.

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