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This week’s lecture focused on setting and imagery.  We will be exploring these elements of literary works during this week and next week’s class. Many things make up the setting of a literary work, including the time period in which it occurs. This week, we will be reading Julia Alvarez’s short story, “Snow,” which has some autobiographical elements to it. It is originally a part of one of Alvarez’s novels, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.  The short story has the setting of the Cuban Missile Crisis as its backdrop. Having a bit of background knowledge about that moment in history helps enhance the overall mood and atmosphere of the story, so as part of this week’s discussion, we will be watching a short video that provides a quick overview of the crisis.

Here are the steps for this week’s discussion board:

1. Read the short biographical overview of Julia Alvarez: Biography (Links to an external site.) and watch this three minute excerpt from an interview with her: Interview (Links to an external site.)

2. To get a feel for the historical time period in which this story’s setting is written, watch this video about the Cuban Missile Crisis: Video (Links to an external site.)

3. Read Julia Alvarez’s short story “Snow”: Short Story (Links to an external site.)

4. In a main contribution of at least 8 sentences, respond to one or more of the following questions:

Why do you think Julia Alvarez chose to set this story during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
How does having a famous historical setting as the backdrop of a literary work help readers get a sense of what that time period was like?  What can literature accomplish that a history textbook might not be able to accomplish?
What details from the story stood out to you?

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