English literature assignment

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There is only one assignment in English Literature and the instruction is listed below:

You only need to follow the instruction of the exercise and you will be fine. I also copied the explanation of the lesson that the assignment based on so you can have full understanding of the nature of this assignment.

Here is the exercise:


Write a scene (not a complete story, your work doesn’t have to have a beginning, middle and end, but is really just a “part” of the story) in which 3 characters talk. Since you’ll want to “show” where the scene takes place don’t forget to add a few touches for SETTING, i.e., details showing the place and time (setting can simply be sentences of description. For instance, to “show” what’s happening in the scene you might want to add a few sentences here and there, such as “He picked up the old rotary telephone and punched in a number.” Or: “She combed her hair slowly with a pink brush.” etc.).

For this assignment I’d like for you to write 1 full page (8.5 x 11). Please include the assignment as a separate document so that when I open it I’ll see that you have written a full page’s worth of mostly dialogue.


This week we’re going to write DIALOGUE, i.e., conversation between two or more characters. Some writers love to write dialogue and often include it in their stories. They usually have “a good ear” for getting language on the page “the way people speak”– that is, believable speech. However, there’s a “trick” to dialogue: people on the page don’t “sound” like people speaking in real life. For one thing, they don’t stammer or stutter–no “ums,” “uhs,” or repetitions like “I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know.” (Well, sometimes a writer might use repetition, for emphasis, but intentionally, to make a point.) Dialogue is very stylized, and very often streamlined.

To learn more about writing dialogue, please watch the following video:

Watch VideoHow to Write Convincing Dialogue

Duration: 7:44
User: n/a – Added: 3/4/15

Now watch this video featuring Quentin Tarantino. As the famous director of Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, Kill Bill, etc., he certainly knows a thing or two about dialogue:

Watch VideoQuentin Tarantino on Writing Dialogue // SiriusXM // Stars

Duration: 3:28
User: n/a – Added: 12/10/12

As an example of good dialogue, here’s a scene from Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”:

Watch VideoPulp Fiction | ‘Big Kahuna Burger’ (HD) – Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta | MIRAMAX

Duration: 4:11
User: n/a – Added: 1/9/15


A famous short story that mostly depends on dialogue is Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.” I guarantee you’ll have to read it at least twice before you figure out what the story’s about (don’t cheat and Google, try to figure it out on your own first).

Ernest Hemingway Click for more options

Remember last week’s assignment where you were supposed to NOT mention the most important “thing” that happened and yet let it inform the telling of the story? Well, Hemingway’s story is very serious, and has a very serious subject at its core.

Here’s the story for you to read (sorry, you’ll have to “copy” & “paste” in your search bar):


Hills Like White ElephantsClick for more options


Now, for some quick & dirty “rules” about writing dialogue:

1. Typically writers use double-quotation marks to indicate spoken language: “I like it!”

2. Writers typically use tags (sometimes called attributions) to indicate/identify who is speaking: “I like it!” she said. Sometimes, if there are only a couple of characters and it’s obvious who is speaking, each line of dialogue doesn’t require individual tags.

3. Quoted material + tags are separated usually by commas, and those commas go inside the quote marks: “I like it! And I like you,” she said. [Note: comma is INSIDE the quote; in British English it is OUTSIDE the quote, like this: “I like it! And I like you”, she said. Please use American English standards for your writing in this class.]

4. Usually, each line of dialogue is set off as a new paragraph:

“I like it! And I like you,” she said.

“I appreciate that,” Syd said. “I really value your opinion. Always have.

Always will.”


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