Sticks by George Saunders, Modern Short Story Literary Analysis, PDF & Google Drive

Looking for a one-page short story from a modern writer that’ll get students thinking? “Sticks,” a flash fiction short story by George Saunders (it’s only 392 words – just two paragraphs), packs an emotional wallop and gives students plenty to analyze.

Although not particularly religious, the story centers around a man who builds a large metal cross out of poles (“a kind of crucifix”) and decorates it for various holidays and occasions.

In this 45-minute lesson, students will sharpen their analysis skills by digging into Saunders’ short story and using textual evidence to support their opinions about the characters. A link to a high-quality video supplement (10 minutes) is included as an optional extension activity/discussion topic.

This download includes:
• 1 page suggested lesson procedure with online links to the short story, a lovely audio version (3 min.), and a professional-quality video supplement (10 min.)
• 1 page literary analysis handout featuring depth-of-knowledge questions that require students to analyze the text and draw conclusions about the events and characters in George Saunders’ story (a Google Drive version of the question set is included)
• 2 pages of a detailed answer key to help you easily grade students’ work and guide in-class discussion

Download includes: 4-page PDF + Google Drive version of student handout (uneditable)

Want to expand this lesson? Help students learn more about author George Saunders’ interesting life with this student-led author biography research activity.

Please note: This item is included in my Short Story Unit Plan for Older Teens. To avoid a double-purchase, please do not buy the item on this page if you also intend to buy the budget-priced short story bundle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cover image: Laura Randazzo with assistance of DALL·E 2