ENG 121 Cause & Effect reading choices


In the classic Robert Frost poem, the author talks about a decision to follow a course of action and the resulting effects on his life. It is the proverbial "If you come to a fork in the road" event--and they happen to everyone. Some decisions involve only the individual, but they may also entangle the lives of others, perhaps not by intent, but certainly by consequence, with results that may or may not be the original intent, and certainly for better or worse.

It can be seen in the pattern of Personal Motivating Factors: Love, Money, Power, or Fear, and how each and every one of us lets two of these qualities be Primary (Important) or Secondary (non-essential) influences in our lives. We are also subject to the choices of others, and again, sometimes not by our design or choice. Much is involved in the realm of "I Want!" A very wise man many thousands of years ago once said, "If you stop craving everything you want, you will find personal happiness and peace within your life." Yet...it is very hard to resist the temptations of Cause-and-Effect because...it is one of the major tests we all face in the Human Experience.

Here are a series of short stories that are found on this web site especially for the presentation of Cause-and-Effect. You have the gift of Choice: you may select any two--so pick wisely.

 If you find a story you do not like, select another! There is no mandatory "You must choose!" decisions here; that in itself is a cause-and-effect. Some stories may delight you, or even frighten you--but there is no ill intent in the selections offered. They are simply examples of what happens when someone makes a decision and then has to reflect on the consequences. May your selections bring you wisdom, insights, and reflection--and a paper that truly shows your best effort and the awareness of cause-and-effect lessons.

(a) I want to know which two of the 4 Personal Motivating Factors were at work in the stories you chose regarding the main character(s)--and back up how and why. 
(b) Were the results fair for the individual(s)? What choices were made--and no, I didn't say they were always "happy" ones either. Were there extenuating (above-and-beyond) circumstances that influenced their choice and the outcome? 
(c) Why were these conditions important not only to them, but to the decision(s) they made?
(d) Do you agree or disagree with those choices and outcomes--and why?

  1. “Hell is Forever” (a long story, but worth the 6 sub-plots that are continuously ongoing when...Hell is Forever. Dante's Inferno never dreamed of this, nor did Stephen King.)
  2. “Mr. Lupescu” (It's not nice to fool a child with deception.)
  3. “The Distant Sound of Thunder” (A true case of "Be Careful for your wishes")
  4. “The  Interlopers” (Vengeance has its own price)
  5. “The Voice in the Night” (We are not the strongest life-form)
  6. “They Bite” (Jealousy isn't worth spilling blood)
  7. "The Necklace" (Vanity and greed gone wrong again)
  8. "Not Wasting a Watermelon" (Boys will be Tom Sawyers)
  9. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (Minding one's business is not fair in war)
  10. "The Lottery" (If you win, you lose. EVERYTHING.


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