Study Questions for "Heartland"

Once more, begin your inquiry into the nature of the story by considering narration, setting, and character. Then proceed to consider how "Heartland" might contribute to an understanding of slipstream as a genre or literary movement. Here are a few study questions the story to further prepare you for our discussion.

"Heartland" by Karen Joy Fowler, initially published in 1988 in Interzone 24; this is the only story included in LCRW first published elsewhere.

  1. What familiar restaurant forms the basis for the setting of this story? What details make this clear to you?
  2. What popular film is referenced by the final images of the story? How do these allusions function to establish the story as something other than realism?
  3. How do you characterize the male customer with whom Willina becomes infatuated? Exactly who or what is he?
  4. What elements of this story, if any, establish it as slipstream?