Senior Short Story Unit

  • Demonman by Julialicia Case


    Amelia, an 11 year old, whose sister has been traumatized

    First person narrative


    Sister, Laura, a victim of rape

    6 teenage girls have been raped in town

    Father is absent from the family (cheating/technology)

    Mother avoids crisis through cooking/crafts

    Main Conflict:

    Laura (victim) and her family traumatized by a rape.

    Laura refuses to communicate (selective mutism)


    Ameila, a fire girl, thinks she can save her.

    investigates rape and communicates with sister through emojis, finds Laura's sneakers

    Amelia CHANGES. She realizes that she cannot save Laura until Laura wants to get better.

    "if she wants us to hurry, she could speak"



    Laura has improved slightly, running again, goes to chorus and counseling.

    Laura is NOT speaking yet.

    Family continues to struggle with the trauma.

    Tone: (author's words)

    Hopeful to hopeless



    Mood: (reader's feelings)

    stressed/angry-Laura has been attacked

    scared/anxious-Amelia keeps returning to the woods, scene of the crime

    frustrated-Laura has not recovered and the rapist was never caught

    Central Meaning: 

    Working through a trauma 

    The trauma affects the victim and anyone those that love her.

    There are many ways to deal with trauma and healing.

    The victim must take some responsibility to move on before they can heal. 


    sneakers-Laura's strength and power become her lost innocence

    bike-Amelia's freedom f

    phone-communication through emojis


    hanging bottles-1 bottle for each victim, voices are trapped inside the bottles

    leaves-the pst, memories

    poison ivy-trauma and pain

    Motifs: (recurring images or words)

    red foods

    fire girls/water girls




    rape anger



    Loss of Innocene-Laura and Amelia have lost their childhood innocence and trust of the world because of the rape

    Moral Struggle-The victim and family struggle to cope with the aftermath of a rape and create a new normal life after the trauma

    Communication-People can communicate in many ways besides words (emojis, support, feed victim, offer physical comfort, record good events, take to counseling)

    Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum


    Dave, the father of an 11 year old daughter

    Third person narative


    Ivy's emotional outbursts

    Ivy's injury, needs to go to PT

    Ivy talks to her couselor

    Dance try-outs

    Presidential Election 2016, Trump wins

    Main Conflict:

    Dave, a father, feels like he is losing his daughter.

    Dave feels like an outsider or an observer of his child's life.


    Ivy is coming of age, chnaging from a child to a teenager and being more independent

    Dave realizes that his daughter is growing up and does not need him.



    When Dave and Ivy create a literal Instgram picture using the window.

    Still connected yet separated by the glass.

    Tone: (author's words)

    Hopeless, worried, bewildered


    Annoyed: Dave's whinning

    Concerned: Dave's mental health. Is he going crazy?

    Anxious-Where is this story going?

    Central Meaning of the Story:

    Relationships evolve and change over time. 

    This change is normal and natural.

    Trust your loved ones and don't control them.


    Instagram pictures: Ivy's independent life and thoughts

    Window: connection and separation

    Happiness Planner: birght, positive future

    Inspirational Quote: there is hope for the future

    PT exercises: health and happiness

    Voting Sticker: Community connection

    Newspapers: knowledge



    social media: outside influences on Ivy's life and thoughts


    dance class

    driving: Dad is in the "driver's seat" he is in control of Ivy

    Car Accident: Dad has lost control of Ivy's every thought and activity


    Coming of Age: Ivy, aga 12 becomes a teen, is more independent, has her own friends, ideas, activities

    Moral Struggle: Dave struggles to accept some new realities in his life. Ivy doesn't need him and there is a new political landscape (Trump 2016)

    The Optimism of Youth

    Search for identity


    Postive vs Negative 

    Old vs. Young

    Male vs. Female

    POV: Point of View

    Ivy views life through a different lens than her father Dave

    Privacy vs. Public Exposure


    Mika Model by Paola Bacigalupi


    Detective Rivera, a police officer investigating a murder


    A Mika Model kills her owner

    Mika wants a lawyer

    Should she be charged with a crime

    Holly from Executive Pleasures "shuts down Mika Models's CPU"

    Main conflict:

    Is the Mika Model entitled to the same legal rights as any human because Mika can "think" and "expresses emotions"



    Detective Rivera sees the Mika Model as "a girl" more than a bot throughout the story.

    Detective Rivera sees the Mika Model's humanity


    At the end of the story Mika is an object, a bot, her CPU (central processing unit) is shut off.

    The model's CPU will be updated.

    Tone: author's perspective

    Male (Detective Rivera) is emotional and sexual. The male sees the Mika models humanity.

    Condescending: the male, Detective Rivera, is suseptible to Mika's sexuality and flirting.

    Females are portrayed as dispassionate and logical

    Mood: how the reader feels

    Introspective: the story makes the reader think about what separates humans from robots with AI

    Horrified: by the violent murder, by the advanced technology, by the outcome (Mika is shut off/kill switch)

    Central meaning of the story:

    Society's laws cannot keep up with the rapidly evolving advances of technology.

    What separates humans from AI?

    The religious concept of a soul separates humans from animals and robots. 


    Screwdriver: death, a kill switch for Mika

    severed head of victim: a human has been separated from his brain or (CPU)

    Nordstrom shopping bag: are humans only consumers of goods

    torture dungeon:

    handcuffed in the front: Mika, a robot or piece of technology, is treated compassionatley and humanely

    CPU: is like a brain but made of plastic and metal, capacity is defined and limited

    Brain: organic can "see" colors and "depth". Has infinite capacity.


    sexual innuendos



    the law/legalities


    Search for Identity: Is Mika a robot or a sentinent being because of her AI (artificial intelligence)

    Rebellion vs Conformity: Detective Rivera fights against the traditional concepts who has rights. Is Mika entitled to human rights because she has AI? 

    I think therefore I am. ~Descartes


    The Relive Box by T. Coraghessan Boyle


    Wes, a single father.

    Wes' wife, Christine has abandoned her husband and daughter, Katie, and moved to Asia. 

    First person narrative



    Wes has stayed up all night playing the Relive Box.

    Wes and his daughter, Katie,  fight about who can/should use the Relive Box

    Main conflict: 

    Wes, a father to a Katie, teenage girl,  becomes addicted to the Relive Box. He neglects his present life and responsibilities.



    Wes is addicted to the Box. When his daughter goes on a winter vacation Wes stops living his life and falls deeper into his addiction to the box. Wes isolates himself from society and his family.



    At the end of the story, the reader does not know Wes' fate. Has he lost his entire present and future life to the box?

    Katie says, "Dad are you there?"

    Wes replies, "I'm not here." 

    Tone: the author's attitude towards the subject. Author's word choice and details.

    Cautionary tale, a warning about the benefits of new technologies.




    Mood: the reader's reaction or emotions to the story

    Dark, depressing

    revolting, gross


    Central meaning of the Story:

     Does technology always improve our lives?

    Are you LIVING in the present or have you lost your life to technology?


    Relive Box-addiction and remorse for past actiions

    The Christmas Wreath-family has given up traditions

    Re-living Room-Tech has replaced family time (the living room)

    Motifs: a recurring word, image or phrase in a story



    Restarting the relive box

    All motifs show an obsession with the past, memories and loss. Avoiding his present life and future. 


    1. Obsession with loss. You cannot change the past. The past is immutable.

    2. You cannot change the past but you can change your reaction to your past, your memories and your regrets. 

    There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury


    the voice of a "smart" house


    nucler blast

    owners of the house have died

    falling tree branch causes a fire

    food uneaten/floor gets dirty mechanical mice clean up

    Main Conflict:

    Humans through their superior intelligence (minds) have created 


    None. The voice of the house continues, "today is August 5th"


    The house is burned to the ground when a falling branch causes a fire in the kitchen. The voice continues

    Tone: author's words


    a warning/cautinary tale

    a futuristic fairy tale

    Mood: how the reader feels




    Central Meaning of the Story:

    The earth/nature will still be here even after all "life" ceases to exist and the earth will be better off without us!



    Sara Teasdale poem

    The nursey

    the dog


    the spoken time

    the food

    cleaning mice

    the glow/light (fire, radioactive, lit cigar)


    The senselessness of war.

    The end of humanity will come at the hand of humanity

    The fragility of life/peace/the planet.-