Guías Académicas




Curso 2024/2025

1. Datos de la asignatura

(Fecha última modificación: 02-06-24 9:48)
Optativa 3º y 4º
Segundo cuatrimestre
Filología Inglesa
Plataforma Virtual

Campus Virtual de la Universidad de Salamanca

Datos del profesorado

María Mercedes Peñalba García
Fac. Filología
Filología Inglesa
Filología Inglesa
1.9 Dpto. Filología Inglesa. Edificio Placentinos
Horario de tutorías
lunes, martes, miércoles y jueves de 15:30 a 17:00
923 294500 Ext. 1754

2. Recomendaciones previas

Prerequisite and co-requisite modules:  None

In addition to the general requirements, students may be expected to demonstrate an effective command of written English and some proficiency in discussing their reading (C1).

3. Objetivos

By the end of this course, you will:

a) have a sound understanding of basic narratology, and a good grasp of the significance of narrative theory in broader social contexts.

b) have enhanced your skills in literary and cultural analysis.

c) be able to interrelate theoretical debate with close textual analysis.

d) be able to appreciate representative short fiction in the English language.

e) be able to recognize important literary elements and figurative language in short stories.

f) be able to appreciate the short story's importance as a literary form.

g) be able to construct and defend a coherent intellectual argument.

h) have a varied experience of the short story.


Areas of focus:


  • The short story as a reflection of social and cultural movements / issues
  • The use of the form as a mode of personal expression and identity
  • The difficulty of finding one's own voice as a woman and as a writer in a male literary world, writing about female desire, maternity, and women's experience as cultural and racial others.
  • Knowledge of cultural debates on the subaltern woman and the construction of female subjectivity
  • Traditional (mis)conceptions of masculinity as universal. Masculinity, like femininity, is a specific gendered construction, culturally constructed, and can therefore be culturally de-constructed.

4. Competencias a adquirir | Resultados de Aprendizaje

Básicas / Generales | Conocimientos.

By the end of the course, you should have:

CG1. Demonstrated the ability to present logical and coherent arguments in oral form through class discussion.

CG2. Developed skills of analysis, which can be applied outside the confines of the module.

CG3. Showed ability in presenting ideas in written form through essays and examination.

CG4. Learned to appreciate an approach to literature that is multidisciplinary.

CG5. Developed an understanding of how critical theory can contribute to an analysis of your chosen area of research.

Específicas | Habilidades.

By the end of the course, you should feel that you have developed some of the following:

CE1. An enhanced capacity to evaluate short fiction: students will be encouraged to think about genre (the form of writing), representation (the rhetoric in which writing conveys experience), and theme (the ideas and issues that writing actualizes).

CE2. A greater understanding of the short story in critical and historical terms: how short stories reflect human experience over time and through different cultures.

CE3. A larger critical vocabulary for thinking, talking and writing about the short story.

CE4. Convincing interpretations of selected short stories by applying close reading strategies, textual analysis, and a critical approach to the text (psychological, gender, postcolonial, genre, reader-response, etc.).

CE5. A greater appreciation of an author’s work in terms of narrative style and descriptive technique, language, tone or mood, and literary conventions.

Transversales | Competencias.

Additionally, by the end of the module, you should have acquired some of the following skills:

CT1. The ability to develop your research skills in printed and electronic media.

CT2. The ability to work closely and collaboratively with members of a small team, and be able to present ideas to the larger group.

CT3. The ability to analyze events, movements, groups, and individuals who have shaped and continue to shape American culture, history, and literature.

CT4. The ability to develop reasoned arguments, and present them in accessible forms, both orally and in writing, i.e., develop an interpretation of a literary text, collect research from appropriate sources, support the interpretation with evidence, and cite the source material).

CT5. The ability to apply revision methods to achieve polished final draft/presentation, using standard academic format and conventions of grammar.

CT6. The ability to demonstrate a command of the basic skills of reference and citation, including web-based materials and proper MLA documentation.

5. Contenidos


1. Representations of women’s experience in American Short Fiction

  • 1.1. Engendering Language, Silence, and Voice
  • 1.2. Images of Women and About Women by Male Writers*
  • 1.3. Rethinking the Maternal
  • 1.4. Resistance and Transformation: Race, Class and Nationality

2. Representations of Masculinities in American Short Fiction

  • 2.1.1. Gender Performativity
  • 2.1.2. Black and White Masculinities
  • 2.1.3. Alternative forms of Masculinity
  • 2.1.4. Masculinity and War
  • 2.1.5. Masculinity and Sexuality


Text analysis on the theoretical contents.

6. Metodologías Docentes

This is a 4.5-credit course, which meets three hours a week during the semester. Teaching consists of a combination of lecture, class discussion, in-class tests and reading assignments, class presentations and formal exams (midterm and final). A list of short stories, and the dates on which we will discuss them, will be provided at the beginning of the course. You will be encouraged to develop an understanding of and ability to analyze particular texts, and also to relate them to the wider discussion of the theoretical issues.

The course will be assessed by the following four pieces of work taken together:

1.Reading Assignments

  • 1.1. A weekly journal. Each journal entry is to be completed prior to class discussion. The journal provides space for the student to produce some reflective writing about the short stories and to respond to a set of questions so that class discussions can be intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. The journal is a semester-long project; it can be a handwritten notebook or an electronic document regularly updated. The journals should be fully developed reflections, not merely summaries of the week’s discussion. Students can use their journals during small group discussions.
  • 1.2. Reading Quizzes. Quizzes will take place in class on the designated day and time listed in the syllabus (notes allowed). They may contain multiple choice, true/false, and short answer responses. The best preparation for the quizzes will include close readings of the texts covered in the course. I will average the three quiz grades to compute the student’s final quiz grade.
  • 1.3. Concise close readings. Identification of literary devices and terms we have discussed (character, point of view, sensory details, setting, etc.) and analysis of a short passage from one of the stories we have read.
  • 1.4. Discussion Lead. On the designated class meeting, each student should bring a brief outline (which should be posted in the Forum page of our class site) with one or two short passages of interest transcribed, brief thoughts on why each is worthy of further analysis, and one or two questions that we might use to enrich class discussion.

2. Class Presentation. This project will require each student (or a group of two/three students) to choose a short story not assigned for class (see list of additional stories).They will be asked to address the class for at least fifteen minutes with the help of a visual aid. Specific guidelines for the Presentations are available on Studium. The presentation will demonstrate in concise form your ability to unite literary and theoretical readings of a text, to raise questions about the text and place it within its historical and critical context. In giving your presentations, and in responding to the presentations of other members of the class, you will be expected to make your own judgments, apply aesthetic and critical terms with precision, and present your view in the form of a coherent argument. Sources must be properly documented in MLA format with a list of works cited.


3. Midterm exam. The midterm exam will primarily cover the short stories we have read; it may also contain some questions about the elements of fiction. The exam may be a combination of identification and short essay questions.


4. Final exam. This exam (similar in format to the midterm exam) will contain material from the second part of the course. The final consists of medium-length “thought” questions that ask the student to make connections between the short stories we have read and to synthesize their learning for the course. 

7. Distribución de las Metodologías Docentes

8. Recursos

Libros de consulta para el alumno.

Copies of the class syllabus, course handouts and several short readings will be available as PDF files in the course website (Studium). The anthology we will be using, The Short Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, 9th edition, 2015 is edited by Ann Charters [Tenth edition (2019) is also available]

  • On-line lecture material, additional stories and readings are available as PDF files in the course site (Studium).
  • Video presentations or adaptations may be used for some of the short stories or for other selections related to the course.
  • Short Fiction Criticism and Anthologies on Reserve (English Department Library)

Recommended texts

March-Russell, Paul. The Short Story. An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Cox, Ailsa. Writing Short Stories. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Otras referencias bibliográficas, electrónicas o cualquier otro tipo de recurso.

Indicative Secondary Reading

Bendixen, Alfred, and Nagel, James (eds.). A Companion to the American Short Story. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Boddy, Kasia. The American Short Story since 1950. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Gerlarch, John. Toward the End. Closure and Structure in the American Short Story. Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1985.

Hanson, Clare. Short Stories and Short Fictions, 1880-1890. London: Macmillan, 1985.

_____ . Re-reading the Short Story. London: Macmillan, 1989.

Hunter, Adrian. The Cambridge Introduction to the Short Story in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Iftekharrudin, Farhat. The Postmodern Short Story: Forms and Issues. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003.

Iftekharrudin, Farhat et al. (eds.). Postmodern Approaches to the Short Story. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003.

Lohafer, Susan. Coming to Terms with the Short Story. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana University Press, 1983.

_____ . Reading for Storyness. Preclosure Theory, Empirical Poetics, and Culture in the Short Story. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 2003.

Lohafer, Susan, and Clarey, Jo Ellyn (eds.). Short Story at a Crossroads. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

Lounsberry, Barbara, et al. (eds.). The Tales We Tell: Perspectives on the Short Story. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood P, 1998.

Malcolm, Cheryl Alexander, and Malcolm, David (eds.). A Companion to the British and Irish Short Story. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

May, Charles. The Short Story. The reality of Artifice. New York and London: Routledge, 2002 [1995].

May, Charles (ed.). The New Short Story Theories. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1994.

Scofield, Martin. The Cambridge Introduction to the American Short Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Winther, Per, et al. (eds.). The Art of Brevity. Excursions in Short Fiction Theory and Analysis. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.

Web Resources


The Voice of the Shuttle

The Online Books Page

The Short Story Project  /

The Short Story Guide

9. Evaluación

Criterios de evaluación.

Teacher-made rubric for oral presentation, analytical essay, and tutorial discussion. Grading is based on a standard point system where each assignment is worth a set amount of points (depending on the assignment’s weight and value to the course), which contributes to an overall course total:

MH = 95-100% (A+)

Sb. = 90-94%  (A)

Not.= 75-89%  (B)

Ap. =  60-74% (C)

Susp.= 0-59% (D)

Sistemas de evaluación.

A student’s course grade will be determined by five factors:

Reading Assignments: 25% (Formative)
  1. Journal entries
  2. Quizzes
  3. Close Readings (students’ response to learning materials)




Class Participation 10%
Group Presentations (plus short paper) 20% (Summative) 
Midterm exam 20% (Summative)
Final exam 25% (Summative)
total        100%

Recomendaciones para la evaluación.

In order to pass this course, students must make a serious attempt at ALL assessment tasks.

10. Organización docente semanal