"All About Suicide"

Directions: Answer the main question, which will appear in bold. Your answer to this question is due no later than Tuesday, January 2. Following the bold question will be other questions which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.

Please answer the question as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lecture. Then post your answer to the English 102 Message Board by the deadline.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Wednesday, January 3.

In order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 3 or 4 other people's postings.

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Remember: This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers will receive 0 points. Points will be assigned according to the thoughtfulness of your answer, not by whether it is "right" or not, since sometimes there is no "right" answer. Just be sure your ideas are supported by the material in the story (see Lecture 1).

"All About Suicide" Link

What happened in the story? Was it a suicide? A murder? Or is there yet another interpretation?

  1. Did Ishmael kill himself? What details of the story make you think he did or didn't?
  2. Did Ishmael kill the minister? What details of the story make you think he did or didn't?
  3. Are there other possibilities?
  4. How does the use of pronouns ("he," "him," "his") contribute to the ambiguity of the story? ("Ambiguous" means "susceptible to more than one interpretation.")
  5. If Ishmael did kill the minister, why is the story called "All About Suicide"?
  6. Why doesn't Valenzuela tell the story in chronological order (that is, in the order in which the events happened)?
  7. Do you think Valenzuela is deliberately confusing the reader? What point might she be making about the political situation in her country by doing that?