At the Mouth of the River of Bees


The Response essay is a piece of writing in which you respond to another writer’s short story. “Personal response writing calls on you to share your reaction to a piece in a story. You can evaluate the quality of a piece make you feel, tell about similar experiences you had, discuss your level of agreement or disagreement, question ideas, explore possible meanings, and so forth” (Clouse 16).

At the Mouth of the River of Bees is a science fiction anthology. You may select one of the several stories that have been assigned in class or choose one you have not read from your text, and do one of the following options:

The introduction for this paper should include the following information:

a.        The author’s full name. In the essay when you make references to the writer, use the person’s last name only.

b.       The title of short story

c.        A brief summary of the story (3 sentences is sufficient)

d.       Your thesis (point of view) in which you focus on the points of the story you wish to discuss in detail.


1.        Johnson tends to blur the lines on a number of different levels in this anthology. Support the concept that she blurs the lines between: animals and humans; fantasy and reality; developed or undeveloped setting; the tone and content of the stories.


2.        You may choose a story and describe what effect the story has on you personally, negatively or positively, referring to the tone or language of different parts of the essay.


3.        Choose a story that presents a writer’s point of view; tell whether you agree with it or disagree with the writer’s main ideas and defend your response with support, such as with experiences or observations. What is the writer’s tone of the essay: anger, concerned, serious, sarcastic and so on.


4.        Choose a short story and extend the writer’s ideas to another situation, time period or context;


5.        In each chapter of At the Mouth of the River of Bees, you may compare several of these literary pieces found in each chapter with each other by discussing theme, mood, tone, setting, character and so on.


6.        Discuss the role of nature in the stories.


7.        What types of literary devices does Johnson use effectively, such as metaphors and similes?


8.        What connections do the themes of the stories have with your personal journey?


9.        “Ponies” is a short story that is an allegory, a lesson.