Paragraph 1 - MysteryTell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen PoeTrue! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you saythat I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them.Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. Iheard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --howcalmly I can tell you the whole story.It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it hauntedme day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. Hehad never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think itwas his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it.Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I madeup my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
Para. 2 – BiographyO. Henry (1862–1910)From Writing New York: A Literary AnthologyYet, in one significant way, “Red Chief” is not typical of O. Henry’s stories. Although he was raised inNorth Carolina, worked as a banker in Texas, lived as a fugitive in New Orleans and Honduras, andserved time in a federal penitentiary in Ohio, the majority of his stories—and certainly most of his bestfiction—are about New York and New Yorkers. He had initially set his earliest stories in CentralAmerica and Texas, but by the time he published his second book, The Four Million, he was dedicatingmost of his writing to the residents of the city where he lived for the last eight years of his life. Thevastness and diversity of the metropolis not only allowed him to escape and hide his past as a felon butalso inspired the weekly pieces he wrote for the New York World. He was entranced by the city’s manydistractions and temptations: “When I first came to New York, I spent a great deal of time knockingabout around the streets. I did things I wouldn’t think of doing now.” His friend Charles AlphonsoSmith agreed, “If O. Henry’s chief quest in New York was for ‘What’s around the corner,’ his underlyingpurpose was to get first-hand material for short stories.”For the last decade New York City has particularly haunted as well as enchanted us each year on theanniversary of 9/11—which is also, as it happens, O. Henry’s birthday. And so we offer as tribute one ofthe many parables he set in New York, the city in which he rebuilt his image and re-created his ownversion of the American dream. A reminder of the resilience of New Yorkers, “The Duel” is a parableabout two new additions to O. Henry’s “four million.” The first, a businessman, boasts that he hasmanaged to grab the city by the throat in conquest; the second, an artist, seems world-weary andbeaten down by the “challenge to a duel” the city offers to its newcomers. In the words of literaryhistorian Shaun O’Connell, O. Henry portrays both men as addicted to a hallucinatory city with “vastpowers to shape the wills and color the minds of its residents.”Notes: O. Henry’s story is sprinkled with several New York City references of the period. Hendrik Hudson (p.382) refers to Henry Hudson, the English navigator who explored the region around the area that becameNew York; it was also the name of a steamboat stationed in New York City in the middle of the nineteenthcentury. John L. Sullivan (p. 383) was the first heavyweight champion in gloved boxing. The hero Lockinvar,or Lochinvar (p. 384), was featured in a ballad by Sir Walter Scott. May Irwin (p. 384) was a popularvaudeville actress; E. S. Willard (p. 384) was a British actor who appeared in many successful Broadwayproductions between 1890 and 1905. Famous for his extravagant gambling habits, John W. Gates (p. 385)owned American Steel and Wire Company, which was eventually sold to J. P. Morgan’s U.S. Steel. Edna MayPettie (p. 385) was an American actress who became famous in the London production of The Belle of NewYork. Mandragora (p. 386) is the genus name for mandrake, which causes delirium and hallucinations wheningested.
Paragraph 3 – Historical FictionThe Landlady by Roald Dahl (Also wrote James & the Giant Peach)Billy was seventeen years old. He was wearing a new navy-blue overcoat, a new browntrilby hat, and a new brown suit, and he was feeling fine. He walked briskly down thestreet. He was trying to do everything briskly these days. Briskness, he had decided,was the one common characteristic of all successful businessmen. The big shots up atthe head office were absolutely fantastically brisk all the time. They were amazing.There were no shops on this wide street that he was walking along, only a line of tallhouses on each side, all of them identical. They had porches and pillars and four or fivesteps going up to their front doors, and it was obvious that once upon a time they hadbeen very swanky residences. But now, even in the darkness, he could see that thepaint was peeling from the woodwork on their doors and windows and that thehandsome white facades were cracked and blotchy from neglect.
Paragraph 4 – Contemporary Realistic FictionThank you, M’am – Langston HughesShe was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer andnails. It had a long strap, and she carried it slung across her shoulder. It was abouteleven o’clock at night, and she was walking alone, when a boy ran up behind her andtried to snatch her purse. The strap broke with the single tug the boy gave it frombehind. But the boy’s weight and the weight of the purse combined caused him to losehis balance so, instead of taking off full blast as he had hoped; the boy fell on his backon the sidewalk, and his legs flew up. the large woman simply turned around and kickedhim right square in his blue-jeaned sitter. Then she reached down, picked the boy up byhis shirt front, and shook him until his teeth rattled.After that the woman said, ―Pick up my pocketbook, boy, and give it here.‖ She still heldhim. But she bent down enough to permit him to stoop and pick up her purse. Then shesaid, ―Now ain’t you ashamed of yourself?‖
Paragraph 5 – Informational TextFrom: artinruins.comRocky Point Roller CoasterIts a hot summer day. The smell of popcorn and cotton candy fill the air. Theres a hugecrowd of people and their excitement surrounds you. Suddenly, an ear-piercing screamrings out. A rush of wind pushes you back with such force you can hardly move! What isgoing on? Is everyone okay?Absolutely! You (and your coaster buddies) have just screamed your way down athrilling roller coaster! And now you are ready to wait in line and do it all over again. Ifyou like twisting and turning at theme parks, then read on. This book is full of some ofthe worlds greatest coasters. But Im warning you, some of these coasters might makeyou hoarse...or hurl!
Paragraph 6 – FantasyEragon by Christopher PaoliniWind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tallShade lifted his head and sniffed the air. He looked human except for his crimson hairand maroon eyes.He blinked in surprise. The message had been correct: they were here. Or was it atrap? He weighed the odds, then said icily, "Spread out; hide behind trees and bushes.Stop whoever is coming . . . or die."Around him shuffled twelve Urgals with short swords and round iron shields painted withblack symbols. They resembled men with bowed legs and thick, brutish arms made forcrushing. A pair of twisted horns grew above their small ears. The monsters hurried intothe brush, grunting as they hid. Soon the rustling quieted and the forest was silentagain.
Paragraph 7 – Contemporary Realistic Fiction4th of July – James Patterson and Maxine PaetroIT WAS JUST BEFORE 4:00 a.m. on a weekday. My mind was racing even beforeJacobi nosed our car up in front of the Lorenzo, a grungy rent-by-the-hour ―tourist hotel‖on a block in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District that’s so forbidding even the sun won’tcross the street.Three black-and-whites were at the curb, and Conklin, the first officer at the scene, wastaping off the area. So was another officer, Les Arou.―What have we got?‖ I asked Conklin and Arou.―White male, Lieutenant. Late teens, bug-eyed and done to a turn,‖ Conklin told me.―Room twenty-one. No signs of forced entry. Vic’s in the bathtub, just like the last one.‖The stink of piss and vomit washed over us as Jacobi and I entered the hotel. Nobellhops in this place. No elevators or room service, either. Night people faded back intothe shadows, except for one gray-skinned young prostitute who pulled Jacobi aside.
Paragraph 8 – Contemporary Realistic FictionThe Choice – Nicholas Sparks"Tell me again why I agreed to help you with this." Matt, red-faced and grunting,continued to push the spa toward the recently cut square at the far edge of the deck.His feet slipped, and he could feel sweat pouring from his forehead into the corners ofhis eyes, making them sting. It was hot, way too hot for early May. Too damn hot forthis, thats for sure. Even Traviss dog, Moby, was hiding in the shade and panting, histongue hanging out.Travis Parker, who was pushing the massive box alongside him, managed to shrug."Because you thought it would be fun," he said. He lowered his shoulder and shoved;the spa—which must have weighed four hundred pounds—moved another couple ofinches. At this rate, the spa should be in place, oh . . . sometime next week.
Paragraph 9 – MysteryThe Davinci Code – Dan BrownRenowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of themuseums Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, aCarravagio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-three-year-old man heaved themasterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backwardin a heap beneath the canvas.As he anticipated, a thundering iron gate fell nearby, barricading the entrance to thesuite. The parquet floor shook. Far off, an alarm began to ring.The curator lay a moment, gasping for breath, taking stock. I am still alive. He crawledout from under the canvas and scanned the cavernous space for someplace to hide.A voice spoke, chillingly close. "Do not move."On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feetaway, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared throughthe iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. Hisirises were pink with dark red pupils. The albino drew a pistol from his coat and aimedthe long silencer through the bars, directly at the curator. "You should not have run." Hisaccent was not easy to place. "Now tell me where it is."