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Summary of Michael C Curtis's Intro Essay

Essay by review  •  May 25, 2011  •  Essay  •  476 Words (2 Pages)  •  881 Views

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Curtis begins his essay with the question, "What is a short story and why is one 'better' than another?" He then transitions into another paragraph to state that a short story can essentially be anything the writer wants it to be. The author then proceeds to ask rhetorical questions regarding what makes a short story interesting and then answers them himself. This essay serves as an introduction to a collection of short stories titled, American Stories II: Fiction from the Atlantic Monthly, and justifies why each story was chosen. Michael C. Curtis's essay explains what makes one story better than another in the eyes of certain critics then compares their perspective to his own.

In Curtis's explanation of what makes a short story better than another, he discusses what three different types of critics look for in a short story. The first type of critic (or anthologist as Curtis calls them) likes stories that the reader can relate to in such ways as 'humane concern' and how it can relate to real life. The second type of critic that Curtis brings up is interested in a creative approach to story telling that does not follow the norm. This type of critic will not bash a writer's work that is perhaps too orthodox and therefore won't antagonize anyone in his or her critiques. The last group of critics that Curtis explains is one that believe that every short story can be left to interpretation by the reader even if the writer of the piece of work explicitly said that the work was not meant for any lesson or theme.

Curtis explains that in a year, twelve to fifteen stories must be chosen out of 12,000 submissions in a way that certainly is not binding to a certain criteria. Instead, they look for short stories that reflect 'story-telling' rather than 'stories'. Stories are simply images that simply are able to amuse and in some cases even offer life. On the other hand, Story telling allows the reader to relate to their fictional counterpart, which then allows the reader to perform certain tasks such as visualizing and solving problems from the past and present, as well as instruction on life.

In the final two paragraphs, Curtis reiterates again the importance of the qualities of story telling that were previously outlined. Once again, he stresses that some kind of connection and relation between the reader and the short story he or she is reading is crucial to what makes

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