Only a Detective Story John Wood Crutch



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Only a Detective Story – John Wood Crutch

NAME: _______________________ DUE: February 20, 2012 4th period: AP Language



Read the article, Only a Detective Story, and answer the following questions thoughtfully and completely.

  1. In the second paragraph, with which (if any) of the authors are you familiar?



  1. In what paragraph does the introduction end? How do you know? Where is the thesis statement?



  1. Oh, and what IS the thesis statement?



  1. In the fourth paragraph, what does the author say motivates people to read a novel? How is this ironic, according to Krutch? Are you motivated by the same thing?



  1. According to the context in paragraph five, what does the term “prolific” mean? What other word or phrase can you find in the paragraph that means the same thing? [Yes, there is one there.]



  1. Krutch asserts that much “of the great literature of the world has been written within the limitations of an established tradition” (5), so cannot be a reason for finding the detective story inferior. Name one classic author whose work(s) you have read that writes in a specific style. [And don’t say you haven’t read any either – ‘cause you have]

______________________________ Come on…fill in the blank already.

  1. How is the first sentence in paragraph six an example of antithesis? How is the sentence parallel?



  1. What is the main point in paragraph six? Do you agree with his assertion? Why or why not?



  1. In paragraph ten, Krutch suggests that detective stories “exhibit certain of the very elementary virtues of prose fiction which the serious novelist began utterly to despise just about the time that the detective story writer stepped in to steal a large section of the reading public away from him.” What advantage does the detective story writer have?



  1. The same thought in paragraph ten is continued in eleven, as Krutch defines “important novels.” List their qualities. Do any of the terms fit your own definition of a quality story?



  1. What does the term “belles-letters” mean in paragraph twelve?



  1. The decline in quality of novels began, says Krutch, when “the novelist willingly acquiesced in a distinction between the important and the interesting.” Do you agree? Why or why not?



  1. You have to love the term “concatenated” in paragraph fourteen – and who do you know who could use that term and “sine qua non” in the same sentence??? How cool is that!!??

But what is his point???

  1. According to the author, the “perfect ending” to a story can be found in the detective story. What is it? Do you agree with him?



  1. At the end of the article, the author says that he advocates looking to what is successful in the detective story and seeing whether its virtues should/could be incorporated into the fiction of so-called “serious writers.” But, what does he advise against?



  1. In this article, Krutch proposes that there are two kinds of writers: those who write detective fiction and those who write “serious fiction.” Do you agree with his position that some writers look down on detective story writers and see their work as having less quality? If you are going to voluntarily pick up a book to read (for fun – I know – incredible), what qualities are you looking for in a book? (And don’t say short.)



  1. Now that you have read several chapters of Some Danger Involved or The Limehouse Text, what positive qualities does it have that Krutch mentions?



  1. How do you think the story would be different if it was told through Cyrus Barker’s eyes? Would you like it better that way or not?



  1. How confident are you that you could define what constitutes a book of literary merit? Explain.



  1. What is your favorite book of all time? Why?


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