Note: If you were not in class for this group exercise, please complete it as a written exercise and turn it in as soon as you can.

Group work on Kurt Vonnegut's "The Foster Portfolio"

Break up into small groups (4-6). Delegate one or more members of your group to (1) prepare a summary of your group's discussion and (2) make a list of your group's members. 

1. What does the narrator think of Herbert Foster at the beginning of the story?  What does this tell us about the narrator?  What does he value?


2. Who loves whom or what in this story?  What does this tell you about them?

3. Do you think there is a "moral to the story"--Why or why not? If your group found one (or more) what is it (or what are they)?


4. What is the experienced truth of "The Foster Portfolio"? - What kind of real experience(s) does it express?   What is Foster's problem?  How does he solve it?  Do you know anyone who has solved some of his/her basic life problems the way (or anything like the way) Foster did?  Explain.  If not, explain why you think Foster's way is so unusual .


5. What does the narrator think of Herbert Foster by the end of the story?  What does this tell us about the narrator?  What has he learned? 


M. Kagan
PHL 403, Senior Seminar on Heroism and the Human Spirit
Le Moyne College, November, 2005

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