9/24 responses


Kevin Zambreno

Curtis

1. Wolf-people with cars attack a woman with a dysfunctional family.
2. I now feel kind of strange and uncomfortable in a vague, hard-to-define way.
3. The most surprising thought I had was that for all the strange details in this story, the military bathroom (and the woman inside) I found the strangest, the hardest to make sense of.

Hasak-Lowy

1. Confronted with a failing marriage, a stalled career, a sick daughter, and an impending nuclear disaster (which makes Todd Hasak-Lowy very self-conscious), a lost wallet sends Larry over the edge, so to speak.
2. I now feel like there are ways to tell a story that I had never even considered before, and I'm beginning to reconsider my thoughts about "Independence Day."
3. The most surprising thought I had was how disappointing I found the ending, considering how I found the first 15,000 words or so to be maybe not a revelation, but something close..


Mary Rainey

“The Wolf at the Door”

1. What happened in the story?
            A wolf tries to catch the main character after she has worked late, but the girl is saved by her sister only to realize how distant and alone she feels from both her sisters.

2. What do you feel after reading the story that you didn’t feel before reading it?
            I felt pity for the main character because she evaded death (once again it seems like), but for what? Her life doesn’t seem to have a lot of meaning, or at least she has not tried to have a meaningful relationship with her loved ones.

3. What’s the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading this story?
            During the story I kept thinking about the “military only” bathroom and where that might lead, and at the end of the story I found myself questioning my own relationship with my sister.  

“The End of Larry’s Wallet”

1. What happened in the story?
            A nuclear war starts and the world is in chaos, while one man deals with the chaos of his own life in searching for his missing wallet.

2. What do you feel after reading the story that you didn’t feel before reading it?
            I realized how right the author was about what would happen in America if a nuclear war were to be started in the middle east, at least when it comes to what the rest of the world wants to see in the news.

3. What’s the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?
            As appalling as the rest of the world’s reaction to the nuclear war and its survivors seemed, I realized that I too was engrossed in the story of Naren Joshi and I wanted to know more about this survivor. I would have tuned into that interview too, which surprised me after I finished the story. 


Jackie Brusco

The Wolf at the Door, Rebecca Curtis

1.    What happened in the story?

On the surface, this is a story about a girl leaving work late, who must hurry home through the woods to get home.  She is afraid she won’t get home in time and there is a sense that something is chasing her.  When she finally reaches the house, a wolf (lion, man) tries to break down the door. This dramatic push and pull of the girl and the wolf happens for a while, until finally the wolf leaves with the girls fake phone number.

Underneath, I think this story is about a character with a past.  She must have done something she regrets, and the wolf symbolizes the regretful thing she did. She doesn’t want her “past” to show up in her life now. The woman, next to the wolf, may represent all the people that know about her past, the character’s wrongful doing, whatever that may be.  The sisters represent how family is affected with whatever she did in the past. (She sleeps downstairs, which may symbolize that she feels lower than them now because of her past).

2.    What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn't feel before reading it?

I felt like the character’s problem wasn’t solved, that this wolf was certainly going to return again, and she would need to face him head on before moving forward. No matter how hard this woman works at her job, or tries to be good, this wolf (this “past”) keeps her from growing into what she wants to be.  Metaphorically, this wolf is “her” against herself.  She needs to forgive herself for her wrongful past. 

The ending was perfect.  Her sisters go to bed, but she does not.  She can’t sleep.  She stays up contemplating her past (which is universal of all humans), watching the gray curtains sway back and forth. 

3.    What's the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?

The most surprising thing I found myself thinking was “Oh, the big bad wolf, I know him.”  It made me think that this will be an adult version of red riding hood, or three little pigs. 
Immediately then, I thought of Joyce Carol Oates’ story: Where are you going? Where have you been? For me, Oates has more suspense and prettier language and more developed characters, so I found myself surprisingly being too critical of Curtis before the story even ended.

The End of Larry’s Wallet, Todd Hasak-Lowy

1.    What happened in the story?
A man becomes irrational when he can’t find his wallet (simultaneously the world and his personal life fall apart).

2.    What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn't feel before reading it?

I felt that this story was not satisfying, that Hasak-Lowey attacked too many subjects for a short story.


3.    What's the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?

I thought it was odd (but cool) how the author, Todd Hasak-Lowey, talked directly to the reader.  I also thought the skipping around from scene to scene and the timeline of everything was jarring and made for a very “bumpy” read.


Sheila Traub

“The End of Larry’s Wallet” by Todd Hasak-Lowy

1.     The story is a frame within a frame within a frame, within a frame, wherein:
a.      While a man looks for his wallet, we find out about his life, his wife (who just left him,) little girl, and job;
b.     we find out that because the man lost his wallet, there’s going to be a nuclear exchange between two nations, killing millions of people instantly and more over time;
c.      the nuclear exchange does seem to happen and we follow how the media cover it, getting satiric insights that are often believable in the process that tell us how into really huge events are covered;
d.     we find the author tricked us because he wanted to make us stay engaged in his story, and that he thinks that he had to have made up a lot of Independence Day-type violence and drama to do it;
e.     we are saddened, amused, and fascinated, the sake of the man who lost his wallet and for the author; and
f.      we get diverted at times by sloppy spelling, punctuation and hyphenation errors -- we hope that when you grow up, you will have learned all the rules of grammar so that when you break them, it will be because you wanted to do it to intensify your points.
2.     I got a kick out of this story, loving its humor and the imagination and feeling sorry for the alienation of the author; I also felt sorry for his family .
3.     I was surprised and pleased how related the very first three class sessions I have taken as a Y1 SLC grad student have been.

“The Wolf at the Door” by Rebecca Curtis

1.     This is the story of a woman with a day job that sounds dull but important to her who also has two sisters and some real family issues and a tendency to beat up on herself -- she dreams about real danger and how she and each of her sisters would handle it and, in the end, she gets slammed by a sister, who tells her that her dreams aren’t interesting when compared to the important things the sisters deal with every day.
2.     After reading the story, I felt curiosity about why main character, when she seemed well meaning and decent, allowed herself to be demeaned by her family.
3.     While reading the story, I suppose I was particularly surprised about how unsurprised I was at the way it unfolded -- especially because this story was crisply written, without wasted words.


Joe Pfister


Rebecca Curtis, “The Wolf at the Door”

1. What happened in the story?

After leaving work late, the narrator runs home through the dark; however, before she can get inside, a wolf/man throws himself against the door. In exchange for the narrator’s phone number, the wolf/man then agrees to leave.

2. What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn’t feel before reading it?

Disoriented, I think, and pleasantly surprised. “The Wolf” was not the kind of story I expected it to be—a nightmarish fairytale—and because of this, everything about it felt that much more vivid.

3. What’s the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?

I was most surprised and impressed by the dreamlike rationale of the story and the way it added to the story’s surreal nature.
  

Todd Hasak-Lowy, “The End of Larry’s Wallet”

1. What happened in the story?

Set against the backdrop of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, Larry—the sole proprietor of a failing business and recently separated from his wife and three-year-old daughter—suffers an existential crisis while searching for his wallet.

2. What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn’t feel before reading it?

Frustrated. The story felt overly long and convoluted.

3. What’s the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?

I was most surprised by the author’s sudden intrusion and direct address to the reader in the last third of the story.



Brittney Decker

The End of Larry's Wallet

1.    A man is struggling with family problems, while media reports nuclear attacks on India and Pakistan, and the author’s interview about why he wrote the story is woven in between the two storylines.
2.    After reading this story I feel like I was able to embrace the feeling of disorientation I got from the disorienting structure of the story.
3.    I was the most surprised that I felt just as moved by what Larry was going through crying in his closet at the end of the story, as by Naren’s suicide.

The Wolf at the Door

1.    In a surreal world a girl must save herself and her sisters from being taken by the wolf/people.
2.    I thought about how creepy a public bathroom in a deserted building really is.
3.    I was surprised by how scary, real, and fairytale esque the story felt to me.



Joanna Benjamin

1. What happened in the story?
Curtis: A woman works late at some kind of military facility, goes home, fights off some kind of predator at the door with the help of her sister, gives them a fake phone number, and then goes to bed.
Hasak-Lowy: A depressed, divorced man with a sick child loses his wallet; America responds to the killing of 15 million Indians and Pakistanis by nuclear weapons; a survivor of the tragedy kills himself on live television, and the man finds his wallet.
2. What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn't feel before reading it?
Curtis: I felt confused.
Hasak-Lowy: I felt dissatisfied.
3. What's the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?
Curtis: This story is almost over and I still have no idea what anything here means.
Hasak-Lowy: How would "heirloom" ketchup taste different from regular ketchup?


Sara Arnell

The Wolf At The Door

1.     A girl uses a bathroom she is not supposed to, heads home late, as it is starting to get dark and faces danger at her front door

2.     After reading this story, it made me consider the idea that life and death decisions are made by people everyday.  I also thought about how especially vulnerable women are and how sometimes they could do more to help each other. I also thought about how seamlessly the impossible and the normal can just blend together.

3.     As I was reading the story, I thought that is was, of course, a riff on Little Red Riding Hood.  Then I thought this was probably a dated reference and that if a kid or young adult read this today, they might think the literary reference was Twilght or one of the many books about magical realism


The End of Larry’s Wallet

1.     A depressed, spoiled and recently separated neurotic man who owns a post-modernist food business looses touch with reality after loosing his wallet and being in denial about his daughters illness. He attacks the media about poor TV coverage of a nuclear event as a way to direct his anger.

2.     After reading this story, one of the first things I felt is that it is unnecessarily complicated, with too many story lines. Aside from that, it made me feel that to some people, a personal disaster can feel as devastating as the great loss of life due to a war that they are distanced from.

3.     As I was reading the story, I thought that it made a good, if not over the top, point on how foolish and out of touch self-absorbed people can seem.  Larry’s selfish focus on himself over everything else is a warning on the hazards of loosing perspective.


Sam Courant

The End of Larry's Wallet
1. A man with family troubles freaks out over losing his wallet. While this is happening, missiles are launched and millions of people die, and then the writer tells us all about why he feels guilty for writing the story.
2. I felt sympathy for Larry and anger at the imaginary woman who criticized the story on TV
3. I was surprised how immediately I thought of the counter-argument against what this woman was saying and how passionately I delivered this speech to my empty room.

The Wolf at the Door
1. A woman tries to get into her house to escape from an oddly polite but apparently deadly wolf who turns into a man.
2. I felt scared for the woman and was rooting for her to get her door locked.
3. I was surprised at how I still felt somewhat engaged even though the story made very little sense.



Will Vincent

The End of Larry’s Wallet
A man loses his wallet and a bomb blows up the world and the man survives and gets to go on TV to talk about it and a man kills himself because he is sad about the bomb and a man cries because his daughter doesn’t have enough toys has a sick ear and he invents a new ketchup because there are already a lot of mustards and he watches Independence Day and likes it people on TV are sad and mad at the man for telling the story and killing the world in his story.
This story made me feel sad because the man and his daughter were sad.
I was most surprised when the author started complaining about what could potentially happen after his story is published.
The Wolf at the Door
This story is like red riding hood but without the big teeth and big eyes and big claws and big hands and red riding hood in this story is scared and lives with her sister and the wolf attacks but luckily they had a broom and were able to keep off the wolf but the wolf turned out to be nice and the red riding hood’s sister saves her from the wolf and the wolf turns into a lion and turns out to be a man and they trick the wolf by giving him a fake number and the girl is scared and has to sleep in the living room.
This story made me feel like the woman might be crazy or they might both be crazy so that made me sad because they’re too crazy to even recognize their parents, but this could also be because their parents are, or were abusive in some way.
I was most surprised when the girl’s sister seemed just as crazy as the girl in the end.

Ryan Strong

"The Wolf at the Door" by Rebecca Curtis
1.      The narrator is chased by a man, who is so scary he comes off as a
violent dangerous wolf.
2.      I felt the fear the author wanted me to feel during the reading experience.
3.      I was surprised by the beginning, which, set a different tone for
the story which it eventually became.

“The end of Larry's Wallet” by  Todd Hasak-Lowy

1.      The story is a humorous look at the end of the world.
2.      I felt overwhelmed by all the expository details in the story.
3.      I was surprised the author took a humorous approach to a subject matter that
could have been a more serious tone, if told by a different writer.



Micah E. Weiss

The End of Larry’s Wallet
Three Questions:
1.     What happened in the story?
There were three different stories running throughout.  Larry’s Wallet, a sub-continent nuclear exchange that then turns into the public reaction that turns into the story of how the media tried to find a method and vocabulary to deal with the exchange, and a meta-narrative musings of an “author” exploring and apologizing for the combination fo narratives wherein his manipulations as a writer could be seen as racially insensitive and trivializing. 
2.     What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn't feel before reading it?
That someone gives a shit about content in fiction.  That exploring things that deeper than first-world problems might be possible within an world of art, and a paradigm of art that is largely first world. 
3.     What's the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?
Well, I was pleasantly shock that Larry never confronts the nuclear war that happened while he was looking for his wallet and dealing with his problems.  More generally, I was surprised at how the two stories didn’t overlap literally at all, but most, I was surprised at how much I felt for poor Larry, considering the compare-contrast nature of the narrative, the trivial versus the overwhelmingly relevant.  

The Wolf at the Door
Three Questions:
1.     What happened in the story?
It seemed like a writer had “totally messed up dream, dude” and wrote it as a story, changing a few things here and there to add detail and occasionally meaning. 
2.     What do you feel after the reading the story that you didn't feel before reading it?
Well, again, nothing makes sense, except if understood as a dream.  The characters act irrationally (even given the fantastical situation) like the older sister who watched the narrator struggle instead of helping until the last minute where she then throw herself into the wolf/whatever/metaphor fighting at the door. 
3.     What's the most surprising thought you noticed yourself thinking while reading the story?
Well, one of the last lines I really liked, “Your dreams are not that interesting. . . etc.” because it was what I was thinking about the story the entire time I was reading it, and then I kind of think I got the story.  The narrator dreams of the author’s life, the author dreams of the narrators life, but really, no one cares about the author’s mundane life, but if her dreams were real we might be able to care. 
Except I didn’t.  So, maybe the story was too successful?  Cute self-awareness in the end.  


(non-required)





































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