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these are the instructions read analyze and respond.
I was at an academic conference with a close colleague and friend and she went to a little local diner and had avocado toast for breakfast. Just…toast with avocado…topped with an egg…and some bacon…some other greens…a little bit of cheese…and then another slice of toast. Thus ensued a long debate over precisely where the line is that separates “avocado toast” from “sandwich.”
I continue to maintain that the moment that you introduce any main ingredient other than avocado and toast, you have crossed over into new territory. Even without the extra slice of toast on top (which I should be totally honest, I might have made up just to make my wonderful colleague look a little extra silly in this example) you’ve still crossed over into the realm of the open-faced sandwich (if you believe open-faced sandwiches even deserve to count as sandwiches, which is a different debate). For instance, this morning I had a quesadilla, not avocado toast with melted cheese, seasoned beef, sour cream and green Cholula on tortilla toast. A quesadilla is a thing that already exists; I am not a visionary of avocado toast modification. If you put turkey, bacon, and swiss on avocado toast, with lettuce and tomato, that’s a Turkey club with avocado, not avocado toast with turkey, bacon, swiss, lettuce, and tomato.
I have a point. I promise. The way that we define our terms matters, because the ways that we express categories give shape to our world. When a category becomes too broad, it’s ceases to signify anything; categories that are too narrow stifle progress and innovation and experimentation.
As is the case for food, so is the case for literary genres. What are the characteristics, as you understand them at this point in the semester, of the short story as a literary genre? What do you know about short stories? What is your experience with short stories? How would you define “the short story” as a literary form or genre in a way that differentiates it from other literary forms or genres?
You may also take this opportunity to share your thoughts on avocado toast, if you’re feeling so inclined.