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Journal of Legal Education


stories, bioethics, teaching


For some years now, I have been experimenting with the use of short stories. Despite rich resources for stories, there remains a void best filled by fiction. When discussing fiction, we can probe, criticize, and express ourselves freely without the constraints we feel when discussing real people. Good fiction lays bare the innermost thoughts and experiences of its characters, perhaps even their dreams and nightmares, in a way that would be intrusive, uncomfortable, or impossible, even in autobiography. When the entire class reads a short story, it provides a pool of shared experience, a fixed point for discussion. Just as we refer repeatedly to major cases over the course of a semester, these short stories become part of our “bodied stuff on which to feed” and enrich class discussions in unpredictable ways. fiction in my upper-level class on Biomedical Ethics and the Law. Biomedical ethics is a subject nourished by stories.