The Spanish Short Story and Its Potential for the Secondary and College Classroom*


  • Luis Leal

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      LUIS LEAL (Ph.D., Univ. of Chicago) is Professor of Spanish at the University of Illinois. He has previously held the position of Visiting Professor at the National University of Mexico, taught at the NDEA Institute of the University of Arizona at Guadalajara, Mexico, and served on the Graduate Record Examination Spanish Test Committee. The author of numerous texts, his most recently published is Cuentistas hispanoamericanos del siglo xx (New York: Random House. 1972).

  • *

    This paper was originally presented at the 1971 Meeting of ACTFL, in Chicago, 25–28 November.


ABSTRACT  The modern Spanish short story provides a useful teaching tool for the high school and college teacher of all levels of Spanish. Short stories can be read and analyzed in a limited period of time. They are adaptable to various levels of achievement and individual interest, as their diverse and significant themes and limited vocabulary have wide appeal to the student and offer many opportunities for group work. Since the short story concentrates on a single impression of life, it has an immediate impact upon the reader. This personal involvement provokes the student to feel, to think, and to consider his own reactions and attitudes in light of what he has read, all of which makes for lively class discussion. While many short stories have universal themes, some have important moral implications; others treat of social or national conflicts, exposing the student to the psychology, language, and culture of other people. The short story is also a good medium for teaching literary analysis, to both the mature and adolescent reader. The more advanced college student may wish to study the development of the short story from the early didactic tale to its present form as a work of art.