The Zero Meter Diving Team and On The Lake Comparison

  1. Read the following story by Jim Shepard:
  2. Pay attention to the relationships between the sons and their father and the sons and each other. “What about the mother?” you may ask? Yes, indeed. Good question, but for another day.
  1. Read the following story by Olaf Olafsson:
  2. Consider the following:
    • How the woman in this story changes her mind about her husband’s worth in the aftermath of the incident the story presents.
    • Attend to notions of masculinity presented in the story. Are they realistic? Are they idealistic?
    • Keep these thoughts in mind as we prepare for our next task, on Psychological literary criticism (also called Psychoanalytical literary criticism).


  1. Review Psychoanalytical literary theory from the following

Watch this video on Psychoanalytical literary criticism:

  1. Choose two main characters from one of the stories we have read in this unit.
  • Identify an important conflict these two characters share (either between each other or a conflict from outside the relationship).
  1. Consider how psychological factors within the two people affect resolving this conflict.
  • Recall that the video talks not only about the Id, Ego, and Superego, but also about stress, depression, PTSD, grief, and so on.
  • In particular, look at different ways the characters view masculinity.
  • Do varying ideas of masculinity cause, or exacerbate, the conflict?
  1. Write two paragraphs about the following, using direct quotations and paraphrases (with in-text citations) to support your claims:
  • First paragraph:
  • Identify the two characters and describe the specific conflict.
  • Analyze the psychological factors that seem to be motivating these characters, especially in what it means to be, for example, a “good” man or a “strong” father or a “loving” husband.
  • Second paragraph:
  • Explain how these factors and this conflict contribute to meanings of the story. Use at least three direct quotations from the story (with MLA in-text citations) to support your points.