Literary Criticism

This section contains Gary Lawrence’s papers and thoughts on literature as a creative writer. Note that most if not all of the papers below deal with an aspect of writing craft; very seldom do they address the question, “What is this story about?” This question is most often assumed and/or understood here. Rather, the main question in this type of criticism and analysis is, “How did the writer do that?”

This is what you do in good MFA programs. The MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts is one of the best (see more on VCFA programs).

The following papers were written by Gary Lawrence for assignments in the MFA in Writing degree program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. They were written between 2009 and 2011, and are presented here unabridged and unedited, as submitted. Click on the link to get a brief abstract and the paper itself.

“Anecdotes” (Amy Hempel)
“Beginnings” (Hemingway, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”)
Black Maps: David Jauss”
“Comparison: Coast of Chicago and Street Games” (Stuart Dybek and Rosellen Brown)
“Faulkner: Foreshadowing” (William Faulkner, “The Bear”)
“How To Touch A Bleeding Dog” (Ron Kessler) — Ambiguity
Love Medicine: Louise Erdrich” (short)
Love Medicine: Louise Erdrich” (long)
“Minimalism” (Amy Hempel)
“Monheghan Light” (Richard Russo)
“Point of View” (Rosellen Brown, Street Games)
“Role Reversal” (Jane Smiley)
“Story Arc” (Sherwood Anderson, Winesboro, Ohio)
“Story Without A Plot” (Raymond Carver)
“Structure and Flashback” (Hemingway, “The Snows of Kilamangaro”)
“Style and Technique: Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You”
“Symbols” (Alice Munro)
“Tension and Plot” (Flannery O’Connor, “The Turkey”)
“Thematic Development” (Andre Dubus, “A Father’s Story”)
“The Things They Carried” (Tim O’Brien)“Time In Fiction: Oates and Hemingway” (“Short Happy Life” and “High Lonesome”)

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