Psychology 303

Paper Assignments


The following stories were written by Ernest Hemingway, who is widely-regarded as one of America's most important literary figures. However, the stories were written long ago, and some of the language is inappropriate by today's standards and some of the stories depict sexual encounters that can be upsetting. If you prefer to read and write about stories by a different author, send your choice to the course email account (, and we will work something out.



  1. After reading Hemingway's Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, describe Francis's personality in terms of (1) types, (2) traits (list three), and (3) needs and motives. Then indicate which of these approaches you think best explains Francis's (apparent) personality change at the end of the story (and explain why).

  2. After reading Hemingway's short story, The Killers, discuss the characters' behavior using the concepts proposed by Freud. For example, what motivates the killers, Al and Max? Which of their behaviors can be explained by the iD, ego, or superego?  Why does Ole Andreson choose not to try to avoid the killers? Be sure to bring into your discussion as many concepts from Freud's theory as you can.

  3. After reading Hemingway's Up in Michigan, write an essay dealing with the following issues: How might learning theorists explain Liz and Jim's behavior? How will the scene at the end of the story influence each character's behavior in the future? What features of the situation might serve to reinforce Jim's tendency to rape someone in the future? How might Liz's experience with Jim lead to a sense of learned helplessness?

  4. After reading Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted River: Part 1, write an essay focusing on the following issues: Which needs has Nick met in Maslow's hierarchy of needs and do you think Nick is a self-actualized person? Be sure to cite specific events and episodes in the story that lead you to draw your conclusions about Nick's location in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.