“The Rocking-Horse Winner”
1. Does the house really whisper. “There must be more money!”? Why do the voices go “mad” when there is more
2. What kills Paul? Does his death have any symbolic meaning? Explain.
3. How do you interpret the ending of the story. particularly Uncle Oscar Creswell’s remark implying that Paul is better
4. Describe the narrator, Sylvia. Why is she angry? Does she know why she’s
angry? What do the story’s final words suggest about her?
5. Describe Miss Moore. Is she a dramatic character or simply a mouthpiece for the
6. The story has a political point of view. Do you feel the author is preaching to
you. and thereby weakening the storytelling. or has the political intent been
effectively expressed without weakening the storytelling? Explain.
“The Conversion of the Jews”
7. What does the Sabbath dinner scene with his mother reveal about Ozzie’s character? How does it relate to his
actions on the synagogue roof?
8. What does Ozzie learn up on the roof of the synagogue?
9. Explain how these flat characters are essential: Mrs. Freedman. Itzie, and Blotnik.
The First Day”
10. Describe the tone of the narrator in “The First Day.”
11. What is the narrator’s attitude toward her mother? How can the reader tell?
12. At what point does the picture of the mother change? Why? How does this change affect the mood of the story?
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
13. With little to no knowledge of the old man, nor any investigation, the villagers try to explain his origins and propose specific recommendations for his use. What do these attempts say about human fear of the unknown and the drive to rationalize experience?
14. Explain Marquez’s satire in regards to the institutions of authority sited in the
15. Discuss the relationship between the old man and the child? How might this
relationship be a reason for hope?
“My Singular Irene”
16. Describe the character development of the narrator.
17. Discuss the manner in which the narrator infantilizes Irene. Offer at least three
18. Interpret the story’s symbols: the butterflies, the house, the bridge, the nakedness,
19. What is a metamorphosis? How does the title explain the theme of the story?
20. How does Gregor characterize his relationship with his family before his metamorphosis? How do the family
members characterize themselves through their reactions to his metamorphosis?
21. What is the effect of telling the story from Gregor’s point of view?