Assignment #1: Close Reading Alice Munro's "Free Radicals"

"Free Radicals" is a short story by Alice Munro that is about (among other things) telling stories. For this assignment you will read "Free Radicals" (there's a link below) and then write a 5-page paper that makes an argumentative claim about the role of storytelling in the narrative, and defends it through close reading of the text.

Your paper will:

  • Have a one- or two-sentence thesis which makes a debatable claim about the role of storytelling in the narrative. "Free Radicals" is a collection of narratives -- the story of Nita's cancer, the story of Rich's death, the story of how they met, the story the murderer tells Nita and the one she tells him in return. How do these work together to create a single narrative? What is the effect it produces? How do these stories change each other and create meaning when put together?
  • Make many explicit, cited quotations of the text to support your analysis. We're all using the same pdf, so just cite the page number.
  • Make no block quotations.
  • Be 5 pages in length (more than four complete pages and no more than five), double-spaced, size 12 Times New Roman font, with your name and page numbers in the header.
  • Have no title, and start at the top of the page.
  • Have a filename on the pattern (Surname)-(Given Name)-(Assignment1).(doc/docx/pdf), like so: FordBurley-Richard-Assignment1.doc.
  • Be e-mailed to me at richard.burley@bc.edu no later than 11:59pm on Monday, February 3.
  • Download "Free Radicals"