Read “Happy Endings,” by Kevin Canty in The Best American Short Stories 2015.

Respond to the prompt below in a 200-300 word response. In order to earn full marks, you must:

  1. Demonstrate that you’ve read the story.
  2. Put some thought into what you’re reading.
  3. Respond to the prompt by saying something that goes beyond merely summarizing what happens. Look beneath the surface, make connections, ask questions.
  4. Write at least 200 words.
  5. Include a one or two of direct references or quotes from the story (don’t worry about proper formatting for quotes.
  6. Attend class on August 31 in order to be eligible for a grade.
  7. (I’m not grading spelling, grammar, etc. for this assignment. But please read it over once to make sure everything makes sense and looks neat)


  • The last paragraph of the story presents very positive imagery: “spring had come…it was warm..the sunlight pouring down on his skin, another gift in a world of gifts” (43). It concludes with this line: “His life was about to change” (43). Judging by what you’ve read in the story, how is McHenry’s life about to change? Of course, there is no concrete answer to this question. It is meant to be ambiguous. But, offer one possibility of how his life might change, based on what you’ve read before. Be sure to mention one or two specific things that happen in the story. Feel free to express uncertainties, doubt, questions, or anything you don’t understand about the story or the prompt. If you feel like you can’t answer the question, then speak about why you feel you can’t answer the question. Just be sure to reference the story enough so that it’s clear to me that you read it. Explaining why you’re confused is a valuable analytical exercise!

To respond, click on “leave a reply” (written below). You’ll have to enter your email address and your name (or sign in with your WordPress account, if you have one). Write your response. Please write your full name at the bottom of your response so I can identify you. Click on “post comment.” You will not see your comment. You’ll likely get a message saying something like: “Your comment is being held for moderation.” Please post it only once. Do not email me asking if it posted.

Copy and paste your response onto a Word document and save a copy for yourself, just in case. You don’t need to print it and bring it to class. In case of any technical issue, you can hand in the hard copy at a later date. In terms of technical issues, benefit of the doubt will always go to the student.