Writing Assignment on
Tess Gallagher's "Rain Flooding Your Campfire"

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Write on one of the following topics:

Topic A.   How does the story communicate the narrator's attitude towards the writer Gallivan?  Does this attitude undergo any change in the course of the story?  Explain.

Topic B.  The story ends with what the narrator describes as "one of those crossover moments where life overflows, yet somehow keeps its shape."  What does that consist in here, and what are some of the facts in the story that precedes it that contribute to the fuller meaning and power of that moment?

Topic C.  Gallagher has described one of her major preoccupations in her poetry as "how memory works or doesn't work in the creating of 'what matters' in our lives."  What does the story "Rain Flooding Your Campfire" suggest about "what matters" in our lives?  How does it do this?  Does this have anything to do with the working of memory in this case?

Topic D.  Explain what the title has to do with this story.  (This will involve more than just recounting how the narrator tells us about the origin of the phrase.)  When Gallagher first published the story, she entitled it "Harvest."  What would have been the justification for that choice?  How does the shift of title shift our sense of what is thematically central in the story, from the standpoint of the author.  (Remember, the author is not the narrator.  The narrator here -- like the narrator of Carver's "Cathedral" -- is a character created by the author, and in this no different from all the other characters in the story.)

Topic E.  How many parallels can you notice between what goes on in the final couple of paragraphs of Gallagher's story and what goes on in the final eleven paragraphs of Carver's "Cathedral"?  Do you notice any differences, beyond these parallels (and of course beyond the literal facts, which are obviously different)?  Explain.

  Consult the Study Guide to this story before attempting this writing assignment.

  You may also wish to review the general instructions on writing assignments.

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright 1999 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

  This page last updated 29 April 1999.