Study Questions for "You Have Never Been Here" and "You Were Neither Hot Nor Cold, but Lukewarm, So I Spit You Out"

Once more, we will open by establishing the narrator and setting for each story. "You Have Never Been Here" poses some interesting difficulties because of its second person [you] address, so I am interested in how you respond to that approach.

"You Have Never Been Here" [2006] by M. Rickert, first published in FVS

  1. Why does the narrator systematically refer to everyone around as "bodies" instead of as individual identities? After your finish the story, re-read the first paragraph and consider how that paragraph might mean something different to you once you have experienced the entire story.
  2. How would you describe the situation of this story? Who are these characters and why do they behave as they do?
  3. Who exactly is the protagonist of the story? Is the protagonist male or female?
  4. The phrase, "YOU ARE ON THE/A TRAIN" occurs twice in the story [272 & 281]. How does this recurrence of an almost identical statement "The" and "a" are the only differences. ] affect your understanding of the story?

"You Were Neither Hot Nor Cold, but Lukewarm, So I Spit You Out" [2006] by Cara Spindler and David Erik Nelson

  1. How does the "ONCE UPON A TIME" opening of the story establish generic expectations that affect your response to the story?
  2. What actually happens in this story? Can this been seen as a scenario existing solely in the mind of the Horror Author? What evidence in the story supports your answer?
  3. What comment does this story make on love and marriage?
  4. Consider the chimps and snakes story on page 365; does this imply a comment on gender relations?
  5. Ultimately, who is being "spit out" by the end of the story and how does this action effect a comment on culture and values?