Questions tagged [short-stories]

Questions about stories with a fully developed plot, themes, and characters, but significantly shorter and less detailed than a novel.

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15 views

What makes the story “The King of Beasts” by Philipp José Farmer realistic and not realiatic?

I need some help!:) Do you have an idea what makes this story realistic and not realistic! Thank you
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What is the literary effect of such long opening and closing sentences in “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story "May Day Eve" begins and ends with two extremely long sentences: The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight ...
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What does cuatro cantos refer to?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", Pete Henson tells Bobby, the story's main character, that "Joey Perez and some fellows went joyriding and dog-hunting and they caught a ...
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What does ‘Kung mapatay di madeadball ’ mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", the 17-year-old Bobby starts behaving rather strangely. After going "stowaway" and being brought back home, he wakes up the next ...
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25 views

What does 'por bida man guid' mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "The Order of Melchizedek", Sid and Mrs. Borja are trying to retrieve a card that Sid had pushed down an edge of the upholstery in a taxi. The girl who has washed the ...
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30 views

Who are/were the man and woman in Nick Joaquin's “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story May Day Eve skips back and forth between different eras of time. There is the night after a party when a young woman and young man look in a mirror and meet each other; then,...
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1k views

Searching for a sci-fi short story: three robots sent as ambassadors to prevent an interplanetary war

I remember reading a short story about three robots sent as ambassadors to (I think) Mars. It was an attempt by Earth to prevent a Martian invasion or war. The robots arrived in a spaceship designed ...
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39 views

What do Connie's two navels represent?

Nick Joaquin's story "The Woman Who Had Two Navels" opens with the following words: When she told him she had two navels he believed her at once: (...) "She" is Connie de Vidal, ...
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45 views

What is “the Segregation of the Queen” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. I’d like to make sure ...
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67 views

What is Watson's “old service” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. As to you, Watson, you are joining us with your old service, as I understand, so London won’t be out of your way. ...
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32 views

Implication of “your four-in-hand takes the prize” in “His Last Bow”

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. You yacht against them, you hunt with them, you play polo, you match them in every game, your four-in-hand takes ...
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21 views

What does “half-primitive vigor” mean?

In the short story The Planet of the Dead by Clark Ashton Smith, I would like to understand the meaning of "half-primitive vigor": He had lived as an intellectual sybarite; and by virtue of ...
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149 views

Why does the narrator in Tagore's story call the Cabuliwallah's daughter “Parbati”?

In Rabindranath Tagore's "The Cabuliwallah", Rahmun, the eponymous Cabuliwallah, has come to Calcutta to make a living selling nuts and dried fruits from his native Afghanistan. In lieu of a ...
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Why does the narrator specify which psalms are being said at the meal in Agnon's “The Kerchief”?

In section 9 of S. Y. Agnon's short story "The Kerchief", the narrator / protagonist gives us the scene at the Shabbat lunch meal: When I came back with Father from the small prayer room ...
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What is the symbolism of the sun in this Bengali short story “The House of Wax”?

"The House of Wax" is a short story by Subodh Ghosh, translated from Bengali to English by Somrita Ganguly. It's about a man and woman who meet at a train station years after getting ...
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62 views

Point of view in Eudora Welty's “A Worn Path”

In "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, how can the story's point of view be described? How does the point of view affect what we know about the situation?
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WWII (?) comic about a spy doing propaganda for the bad guys

The story, so far... When I was a kid, I read a story about a guy, who was sent to a country as a spy. He ended up working with doing propaganda for said countrys government, but is secretly sending ...
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122 views

What does “walk for a wager” mean in “A Fisher of Men”?

In "A Fisher of Men" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Dr. Jervis was digging the earth with his friend, while they saw a stranger man coming along the path, then that man ...
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1answer
57 views

What does “unlikely neighbourhood” mean in “A Fisher of Men”?

In "A Fisher of Men" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke was talking about a man who went to visit another one who wants to buy his expensive necklace, saying: &...
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What's the meaning of the dream in Agnon's “The Kerchief”?

In S. Y. Agnon's short story "The Kerchief", there's an entire section (section 4) dedicated to a dream that the protagonist would have when his father was selling things in Lashkowitz: And ...
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Narration and internal dialogue in Mansfield's The Little Governess

I'm a newbie in literary reading and I'm confused about narration. I have read Katherine Mansfield's short story The Little Governess, which is written in third person narration. But I am confused ...
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298 views

Who are the main characters of “A Study in Emerald”?

Neil Gaiman calls his "A Study in Emerald"* a Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. And indeed it is exactly that: it uses the narration and story structure pretty characteristic to one from ...
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88 views

Identify a story about the kid who waves at the train

I learned of a story in my high school time(sometime during year 2000-2002) as part of the English textbox. The story is about two men having a conversation in a train, one is a disabled man who lost ...
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1answer
104 views

What are “half-tips to the heels” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke and his friend, Gervis, found a print of a boot with an iron toe-tip on loam soil, then they found another ...
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52 views

Does “trampling” mean “violence” or “attack” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to an old disused chalk-pit, where a dead man found after he fall from above path, the edges of which ...
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1answer
37 views

Is there any connection between the reticence of Lady Anne and the cat-bird subplot?

While answering another question, I read Saki's short story The Reticence of Lady Anne" from his Reginald in Russia collection. Inasmuch as a story this short can be said to have "plotlines&...
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Looking for a short story about an executioner

I remember reading this English (could be a translation) short story ~20 years ago in my school, where an executioner who executed convicts on an electric chair, never cared (or looked into) the ...
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1answer
31 views

Why is the Lady “a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky”?

In An Enigmatic Nature, Anton Chekhov writes: "I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar." and "Happiness comes tapping at my window, I ...
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1answer
24 views

Why does Groholsky head toward the water barrel?

In A Living Chattel, Anton Chekhov writes: [Impersonal Witness] I pressed Groholsky's hand, and got into the train. He bowed towards the carriage, and went to the water-barrel—I suppose he was ...
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1answer
73 views

What is the significance of a raised black flag?

In The Lost Sanjak, Saki Writes: and, in the midst of a string of questions on indifferent topics, the examining counsel asked me with a diabolical suddenness if I could tell the Court the ...
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28 views

What is the hidden meaning of “Bad News” known to Egbert and Lady Anne?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Both Egbert and Lady Anne would have preferred something from The Yeomen of the Guard, which was their favourite opera. In matters artistic they had a ...
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16 views

What is the Ruff of Don Tarquinio?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Don Tarquinio lay astretch on the Persian rug, basking in the firelight with superb indifference to the possible ill-humour of Lady Anne. His pedigree was ...
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1answer
29 views

What is the influence of Louis Quinze and Wilhelm II on furniture styling?

In Reginald in Russia, Saki writes: Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess’s salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but ...
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1answer
52 views

Why do Albanians “take life whenever they get the opportunity”?

In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes: I’m not going to discuss the Fiscal Question (said Reginald); I wish to be original. At the same time, I think one suffers more than one realises from the system ...
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23 views

Why are Ibsen Dramas in particular mentioned in Reginald?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman who told the Truth, Saki writes: [Reginald]: Children are given us to discourage our better emotions. That is why the stage, with all its efforts, can never ...
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4k views

Why does “it always turn out to be the King of Sweden”

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: [Reginald]: “There are certain fixed rules that one observes for one’s own comfort. For instance, never be flippantly rude to any inoffensive grey-bearded ...
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17 views

How does Mérimée's Carmen mix the genres classical tragedy, romantic drama and picaresque novel?

Prosper Mérimée's novella Carmen (1845/1847) is best known as the source for George Bizet's opera Carmen (1875). The French Wikipedia article about the novella contains the following unsourced ...
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215 views

What does “The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went” mean?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman Who Told The Truth, Saki writes And at last the dreadful thing came, as the Woman had foreseen all along that it must; it was one of those paltry little ...
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2answers
97 views

Why does Reginald call Britain “a suburb of Jerusalem”?

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: “Oh, well, ‘dominion over palm and pine,’ you know,” quoted the Duchess hopefully; “of course we mustn’t forget that we’re all part of the great Anglo-Saxon ...
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2answers
45 views

What does “To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To have reached thirty,” said Reginald, “is to have failed in life.” Why does Reginald consider it a failure to reach the age of thirty?
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46 views

What does “It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” mean?

Saki begins his short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, with the following line “Never,” wrote Reginald to his most darling friend, “be a pioneer. It’s the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” ...
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1answer
25 views

What does “To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: [Reginald]: "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely." Firstly, does this quote from Reginald imply ...
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1answer
43 views

What does “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening.” What does this mean? (EDIT: Some additional context is ...
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1answer
31 views

What does “beauty is only sin deep” mean?

In the short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, Saki writes: “You are really indecently vain of your appearance. A good life is infinitely preferable to good looks." "You agree with me that ...
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1answer
54 views

Short Story About a Man Slowly Dying From Internal Injury

I remember reading an interesting short story (fairly sure it was in an early level college lit class) where a man falls off a ladder while hanging a picture or performing maintenance inside his home. ...
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1answer
40 views

What do “fairish man” & “rich complexion” mean in “The New Jersey Sphinx”?

In "The New Jersey Sphinx" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to a porter to know the vacant chambers to let, and asked him whether it's quiet: "Quiet?&...
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1answer
905 views

Why does Khushwant Singh's grandmother consider music as a 'monopoly of harlots and beggars and not meant for gentlefolk'?

In the story The Portrait of a Lady, written by Khushwant Singh, there are sentences which I couldn't understand properly (highlighted bold in the following excerpt): One day I announced that we were ...
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20 views

Short Story About a Mystical Bog and Illicit Affair Involving a Professor

It was in an anthology of short stories published prior to 1999 and written by a woman, maybe with the first name Anne, but I'm not certain. I recall her going into detail about beetles copulating in ...
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68 views

Short story about a drug addict in a prison in Mexico

I remember reading a short story on the internet a decade or so ago. It was told in first person, from the perspective of a middle class (male?) in the USA, who had some kind of medical problem that ...
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Looking for a SF short story about a hotel frozen in time

I read it like 7 years ago. Many scientists — I remember Einstein — are there. You can only go if you are invited. Every time someone leaves, you can see from the window of the hotel the time he/she ...

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