Department header
Bewildering Stories

Challenge 475

Turning Over a Dead Leaf

  1. In Maria Kontak’s “A Very Convenient Affair”:

    1. What is the significance of Ellie’s being unable to recognize the “lawyer” when they first meet?
    2. Without reading ahead, what information do readers have that might allow them to surmise:
      • Why Ellie has had mixed emotions about attending Mariya Petrovna’s celebration.
      • What the hidden conflict is and what its resolution is likely to be.
  2. In Bruce Memblatt’s “Dikon’s Light”:

    1. “Dikon” is an unusual name. Does it have any particular significance?
    2. What might be the significance of the name “Virgil”?
    3. Does Dikon ever really leave his place on the street corner?
    4. Who are the people in Virgil’s bar? Or whom do they represent?
  3. In Michael Murry’s “The Silence of the Lamb Chops,” what does the poem denounce? At least two answers are required.

  4. In Sandra Crook’s “Another Day in Paradise”:

    1. The main character’s name is “Joe” is mentioned in the first sentence but is systematically avoided until much later in the story, when it becomes a grammatical necessity, for all practical purposes. What is the effect of withholding the character’s name for so long?
    2. Why might Joe have exiled himself to a place where he feels so uncomfortable and out of touch? Or would it matter where he lives?
    3. Joe is in an earthly paradise but doesn’t appreciate it. The narrator is also in paradise, but in a quite a different sense. How does that happen?
  5. In Glenn Gray’s “A Day in the Cornfield”: Without reading ahead, what conclusion do you think episode 20 seems likely to foreshadow?

  6. In J. Scott Kunkle’s “Autumn Passage”:

    1. What difference might it make if the central character had a name?
    2. The “man” is “in his early forties, give or take a few years, but carried his age well.” How old is he? Why might “he carried his age well” seem incongruous? What might the observation imply?
    3. What is the significance of the dog?
    4. How likely is it that a blind newspaper vendor would accept paper money?
    5. How far does the old woman’s son pursue the man in order to demand an apology for a collison that did not occur? What is the effect of the narrative’s emphasizing the old woman’s ethnicity?
    6. Would it make any difference if the “man” were hit by the automobile or simply dropped dead of a heart attack?
    7. At what time of day does the action take place?
    8. What is the significance of the swirling leaf?
    9. Is the account a story or a vignette?

Responses welcome!

Copyright © 2012 by Bewildering Stories
What is a Bewildering Stories Challenge?

Home Page