Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The basic purpose of this thesis is to present original teaching materials for eight thematically related short stories and to report on the use of those materials in an upper level freshmen English course. The stories used were carefully selected as to theme, each involving an individual’s conflict between illusion and reality, specifically in the modern world. The stories used were: Conrad Aiken’s “Silent Snow, Secret Snow”; Carson McCuller’s “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”; Katharine Anne Porter’s “That Tree”; and William Saroyan’s “Going Home”; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams”; Mary McCarthy’s “Cruel and Barbarous Treatment”; J.D. Salinger’s “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut”; and Jean Stafford’s “A Country Love Story”. The students were given two study questions with each story as it was assigned. Through having to write out provocative study questions on the stories before coming to class, the students had begun to think seriously about the literature and were therefore prepared to participate actively in class and further search out the answers. All the questions and interpretations of this thesis attempt to guide the students into seeing deeply into the stories read, searching for intricate similarities of theme—particularly the idea of man’s problem of reality versus illusion in the modern world.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Short stories, American -- History and criticism


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University