Unit 3 Lesson Plan

Bullet in the Brain

Tobais Wolff

Lesson Plan

High School Senior’s English III


For students to critically think about the short story and discover the underlying elements of the story along with its meaning.


By the end of the lesson, I anticipate to know how each student comprehends the story, what their individual views are and see what I can do to improve their learning.


-“The Story And It’s Writer 9th Edition” by Ann Charters

-Spiral Note book


-Open mind

Activities: (1 Hour 30 Minutes Class Period)

  1. Students will write about what they believe “Bullet in the Brain” is about for a few minutes. (5 minutes)
  1. Students will read the story quietly to themselves and will write down questions about what they are reading to share when they’re done. (5-7 Minutes)
  1. Students will break into groups of three and discuss their questions amongst their peers. The group will be asked to summarize the story and analyze what is going on with the Anders and what he is feeling. They will then explain why this is important in the story. Will be picked up and graded. (30 minutes)
  1. After the groups have finished they will discuss what they have with the class. Each group will share their questions and explain why Anders acted the way he did. The Teacher will help guide the class into more in depth parts of the story. (30 minutes)
  1. Students will turn in what they have concluded from the story and write a reflective on how the story compared to their writing of what they thought the story would be about. Will be taken up and graded. (15 minutes)

Homework Assignment:

Students will write a two page reflection on the days reading. They will discuss the activities done in class, the story, more questions they have, opinions on their view of the story, and the most confusing part of the story. This assignment will be taken up in the next class and will be graded.


Conclusion of lesson:

            Allowing the students to help analyze the reading and comprehend what they have read. This allows the students to think outside the box on why certain things happen in the story.

Critical Reflection

The reason I chose ”Bullet in the Brain” by Tobais Wolff was because of how dark and unusual this story was. The man in the story, Anders, just can’t seem to stay quiet even when he is extreme danger which ultimately gets him killed. The story made me want to know more about his past that would make Ander’s act this way when he has a gun pointed at him. “Bullet in the Brain” is a more dark story and I love the way that Wolff makes the character act the way he does. Ander’s acts like he hates his life at points that makes me think that in a way he wanted this to happen in the end. I also found it interesting because after Ander’s is shot he has all of these memories which in a way shows the type of person Ander’s really is. This is what made me want to make a lesson plan on this story. It allows you to look at how Anders decided to take hus anger out at the wrong time and why he might have done so. This allows for a great lesson plan as well. I chose the lesson plan that would be given to a senior class because it is similar to what I did in high school and it helped me understand the material better. Working in groups, like in my college English class, allows for people to ask different questions about a story that they have just read which allows for a better understanding of the text. Groups let people be more open with each other which allows for more talk amongst each other unlike in class discussions. Some students don’t like talking t the whole class so group work is a great alternative that allows for everyone to discuss the story. Writing papers in high school made me actually have to know the story because without knowing it you wouldn’t be able to do the assignment. I think that writing papers is a great way to truly understand what a story is trying to get across to its readers. This lesson plan allows for students to get the most out of the story “Bullet in the Brain”.


Unit II Paper

Jourden Blackmon

ENG 231

Professor Lucas

4 November 2014

The Decision

        In the stories “Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat” by Russell Banks and “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, the story are very similar but at the same time have many differences. These two stories talk about the decision to keep an unborn child. The decisions to whether have an abortion are different though in each story even though they have similar plots. Each member in each story want to keep the baby but the other member does not. Each side faces a tough decision because either one will change their lives forever.

In “The Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Row Boat”, the couple goes out on the lake fishing. The mood of the story goes into a alone and quiet mood which shows that their is a problem looming without anything being said. The fishing is meant to ease the mood in order for the black man and white woman to have their well due conversation. The situation is already awkward for the both of them but it has to be addressed. The woman then tells the black man that she has decided to get rid of the baby which surprises him. The black man does not want her to have an abortion but knows he doesn’t really have a say in it because she had already told her mother that she was pregnant. The black man wishes that he could change her mind but knows that hers is already made up. He also says “I wish I could just leave you here,” and this shows how much he cares about her and the baby (66). He wants them to all be together without the outside world playing apart in it.

In “Hills Like White Elephants “, the man and woman are sitting at a train station at a bar drinking beer. The story is in a up tempo, happy mood meaning that there is no form of a problem when the story starts out. As the story continues the couple seems to be having a light argument over something that seems to have the woman in a undeceiving mood. As the story goes on we realize that the couple are having an argument on whether the woman should have an abortion or keep it when she says “And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me” (418). The woman is unsure on whether she wants to keep the baby or not because she knows that either decision she makes will change her life. The man on the other hand wants the abortion and that is very apparent.

In Hemingway’s story, the man is almost forceful in wanting her to get an abortion. He continues to tell her it will be quick and easy and that it is better if she gets one. He talks about how everything will be ok and go back to the way things are. The man is more worried about their relationship than that of whether the baby should be aborted or not. The man views the child as a problem that needs to be dealt with rather than keep. This is shown when he says “But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want any one else. And I know it’s perfectly simple.” (419). He thinks that they will be happier once the baby is out of the way and their relationship can go back to normal.

In Banks story, the man is the one that wants her to keep the baby. The woman on the other hand has made the decision to have the abortion which is apparent when she says that her mother already made the appointment. The man doesn’t want her to have the abortion but agrees with her because in the end, its her decision. It’s apparent when the man says You mean, you have to go back.” (66). This is a huge deal to the woman because her mother is involved and shows that even she doesn’t want her to have this baby. The man, even though he wants to keep the baby, has to back down when the woman and her mother already have made the decision.

In both stories there are two major decisions no matter what they choose. If both couples decide to keep the baby then they will have a lot to deal with taking care of a new born and all the responsibility that comes with it. If they choose to not keep the baby they face destroying their relationship because of the thought that they destroyed part of themselves by killing a child they made whether it was a mistake or not. The situation is a lose, lose either way you look at it. One member is going to be devastated whether its emotionally or physically.

A factor that could play into whether they keep the baby is their social status. The black man and white woman is Banks story come from a trailer park while in Hemingway’s story they seem to be middle to upper class due to them drinking beer and traveling by train which shows they have some wealth. The baby in Banks story could hurt the couple more because they are already poor and are in no condition ready to have a baby. They don’t necessarily have the provisions or money needed to raise a child which means that an abortion would be in the best interest of them both. Hemingway’s story could be viewed differently. The couple does have money and they do have the capabilities of raising a child. The couple travels and can buy beer without thinking about money. They seem to be financially stable and having a baby would not mean that their lives are over. They would have more responsibility but they would be fine with a child. But in also depends on the maturity level of both couples in both stories as well.

Both stories have similarities but in the end they both face a hard decision which will ultimately change their lives as well as their relationship. An abortion isn’t something that is taken lightly and has to be talked about before you go ahead and do it. Both stories show the struggle of that and the different views that come along with having a unplanned baby.



Works Cited

Banks, Russell. “Black man and A White Woman In A Dark Green Rowboat.” 2011. The Story and Its

Writer. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford, 1981. 62-67. Print. Compact.

Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants.” 2011. The Story and Its Writer. 9th ed. Boston:

Bedford, 1981. 416-419. Print. Compact.


Unit 1 Paper

Jourden Blackmon

ENG 231.01

Professor Lucas

25 September 2014

Analysis of Mary Gaitskill’s “The Other Place”

Mary Gaitskill’s short story, “The Other Place”, is written in a first person point of view which gives you a better understanding in depth of what the narrater is feeling and thinking. The story tells you about a father who’s son show the same characteristics as him as child but he passes them off as normal. The father switches between past and present and recalls his dark thoughts when he was younger and tells about his experiences with them. The story demonstrates the evil potential they have inside themselves.

The narrater shows this potential of evil by talking about how it turned him on from the thought of some random girl being killed or injured. He talks about how he went to the other place and imagined killing women for the enjoyment of it which goes on to show the dark thoughts that people have. This is show when the narrator says, “A horror movie would be on TV, a girl in shorts would be running and screaming with some guy chasing her, and to me it was like porn.” (371). The analysis that you can take from this that the narrater suffers from something that he knows is a problem but keeps it to himself because he enjoys it to much.

The narrater goes back and forth between past and present because his son, Douglas, is showing the same dark and evil thoughts that he has. This is realized at the very start of the story when Douglas father says, “He loves violence on TV, especially if it’s funny.” (369). The only difference Douglas shows is that his dark thoughts are shown through his action and excitement where the father kept them within himself and did not show them to other people. The analysis you can make here is that the evil inside someone comes out differently and is portrayed in different ways. Both the father and son have these dark thoughts but the father did not put them on display.

Something else we can analyze about the story is the denial that the parents get when Douglas starts showing these dark thoughts. The parents grew up living stressful or drug filled lives so they just wrote it off as Douglas having a rebel stage and his interests in killing people as normal. This shows the family has has evil within there household and there past which allows more evil to form which in this case manifest in Douglas.

The narrater also talks about how he almost went through with killing a woman. But why didn’t he? The narrater observes the woman and realizes she is wearing a wig after he threatens to kill her but she stops the car and tells him to do it. He is shocked and loses all “power” he had over her because she was not afraid to die. The narrater shows a kind of embarrassment because he realizes that after he gets out the car, the woman had been to that “Other Place” as well (377). The woman had cancer and had accepted the fact that she was going to die one way or another. The woman had no evil in her heart but whatever she had, overcame the evil that resided in the narrater enough to wear he couldn’t kill this woman.

The story ends with the father telling his son, in his thoughts, that he wouldn’t have to be in the other place alone. The narrater portrayed this in his thoughts when he said, “He won’t know I’m there with him, because weill will never speak of it.” (378). This proves that Douglas father understands what his son is going through and would always be there for him whether he knew it or not. This shows the understanding of the narrater knowing what Douglas is going through and that he will help him through it no matter what.

Gaitskill, Mary. “The Other Place.” The story and Its Writer. Comnpact 9th ed. Ed. Ann Charters.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 369-378