“The Handsomest Drowned Man” and “Two Words”.

Read “Two Words” and then write 5 paragraphs comparing and contrasting “The Handsomest Drowned Man”
and “Two Words”.
Start with….
1) Write a comparison/contrast thesis that interprets a shared theme and key contrast between the two stories.
• While both “Two Words” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man” demonstrate the theme of ________________,
they differ in that ________________________.
2) Select a line from each story that you think supports your thesis.
A) How do these magical realism stories differ in theme and representation of women?
B) What is magical in this story? What is real?
C) How do we see magic as matter-of-fact?
D) What are some opposites that are explored?
E) How does the story help us to experience this struggle of poverty in Chile?
“…Belisa’s name, read unscrambled, is ‘Isabel.’ I realized that Allende’s main writings had come after she
migrated out of Chile where she, like Belisa, had had to run from the place of her birth in fear of death” (Umpierre
How does this revelation impact your interpretation of the story?
F) How do you interpret the ending?
Don’t confuse the theme with the topic; the former is a broad statement about reality; the latter, the subject of the
narrative. A theme might be “War is hell”; the subject, World War II.
Effective narratives do more than entertain; they often suggest a truth about life, a theme. This observation
touches a cord within your readers and makes your story memorable. It can even help lift your writing to the level
of Art.
Here are some sample themes:
People are capable of great heroism when put to the test.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The world is a lonely and bitter place.
You can’t recapture the past.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world.
Truman Capote invented a hybrid between fiction and non-fiction, which he called the “nonfiction novel.” This
genre starts with a true story (the non-fiction aspect) and adds elements of fiction (such as invented dialogue and
details). Capote’s finest example is In Cold Blood, the gripping tale of a pair of murderers on a Midwestern killing

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