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Questions tagged [short-stories]

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

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How does irony contribute to the Flannery O'Connor stories “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People”?

In Flannery O’Connor's short stories “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People”, how does irony affect the reader's perception of the narrative and how it is used to construct the plot? ...
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Anyone know a book about a coat with rainbow square patterns?

I have a vague memory of a book my mum read to me before she passed away when I was very young. I think it was a book for young readers but it was decently thick. I'm from Australia, but I'm not sure ...
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Looking for the title of a folklore which was about moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess

I read this short story back in middle school during my literature class when we were studying about folklore. It was about a moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess so much that she ...
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Looking for an O.Henry story where a young man from the country working in the city marries a socialite and then goes for a visit to his home

The young man in the question takes his bride to his home in the countryside to meet his family. The author describes the following scene in exquisite detail:- It's night and the entire family is ...
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Has Nalo Hopkinson had pets which influenced her writing?

In at least two of Nalo Hopkinson's short stories that I've read, the main characters are women with an interest in ... unusual creatures. Namely, "Can't Beat 'Em" (Marisella keeps a 'glup', a sort of ...
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The structure of 'Winesburg, Ohio' by Sherwood Anderson

I am currently reading Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. It is essentially a collection of related short stories compiled into one novel. Why might Anderson have chosen to structure it like this? ...
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What's with the reference to “Alice in Wonderland” in Nalo Hopkinson's “The Reverse Cheshire Cat”?

Nalo Hopkinson's "The Reverse Cheshire Cat" is obviously making a reference to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, with the Cheshire Cat. The two protagonists enter a shop named "The Reverse Cheshire ...
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Short story read c. 1960: boy unhappy with his family, dreams of being picked up by his “real parents”

One of the short stories in my elementary school reading book (late 50s or early 60s) was about a young boy who was unhappy in his home and family. He constantly fantasized about his "real parents" ...
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What's the significance of the name Loyola?

As soon as I started reading Nalo Hopkinson's short story "The Reverse Cheshire Cat" (freely available to read online), the name "Loyola" jumped out at me. Surely this must be a reference to Ignatius ...
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Meaning of the /ʌ/ sounds in Nalo Hopkinson's story Can’t Beat ‘Em

In Nalo Hopkinson's short story Can’t Beat ‘Em, people try to deal with a sort of "sink throat monster" that one of the characters calls "glups". While reading the story a second time, I gained the ...
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What does the last line of Nalo Hopkinson's “Shift” mean?

I've finished reading Nalo Hopkinson's short story "Shift", and I'm baffled by the ending. After the protagonist's encounter with his family, and his girlfriend tells him to find out who he is, the ...
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When is “fe” used in Nalo Hopkinson's “Shift”?

The word "fe" is used three times in the Nalo Hopkinson short story "Shift": When my mother who wasn’t my mother yet approach the man who wasn’t my father yet, when she ask him, “Man, you eat salt, ...
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What is the relevance of the title of Nalo Hopkinson's “A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog”?

I've just read Nalo Hopkinson's short story "A Raggy Dog, a Shaggy Dog" (available for free online from Apex Magazine). It's an odd, quirky tale about an orchid-loving lady who's constantly setting ...
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What does “nuh” mean here in “Shift” by Nalo Hopkinson?

In reading "Shift" by Nalo Hopkinson, I came across this paragraph: In my mother and father, salt meet with sweet. Milk meet with chocolate. No one could touch her while he was alive and ruler of ...
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Significance of 'There was a time they called porridge “gruel.”'

In Nalo Hopkinson's short story Shift, Caliban has a relationship with a "golden girl". At some point, Caliban mentions she is cooking oats. At an earlier point in the story he says There was a ...
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Why is the colour of Caliban's girls important?

I recently read Nalo Hopkinson's short story "Shift", which is freely available online. The central character is a reimagining of Shakespeare's Caliban, a Caribbean black man who finds white women to ...
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Why are pronouns used in this way in Nalo Hopkinson's “Shift”?

I just read the short story "Shift" by Nalo Hopkinson, which is freely available online. It's a modern, Caribbean-themed story inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. One thing which confused me on ...
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232 views

Meaning of “How can one admire a girl…so young she doesn't know how to bite her fingers”

In a book of short stories by Maasthi Venkatesa Iyengar, translated from Kannada to English, there is a story set in colonial India in which two male characters are discussing marriage. One character ...
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Which short story describes a man climbing a tower and then discovering he’s underground?

I remember this story about a man living in a castle. I think he wanted to escape and he decided to reach the tallest tower in the castle. He climbs the wall from the inside and when he’s finally at ...
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In “On The Face of It” by Susan Hill, why did the author decide to kill Mr. Lamb at the end of the story?

"On The Face of It" by Susan Hill (a 5-10 minute read) is part of my curriculum, and I'm genuinely confused as to why the author decided to kill Mr Lamb at the end. The entire story is about optimism ...
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In “The South” by Jorge Luis Borges, what is the significance of the cat?

What is the significance of Dahlmann's contact with the "enormous cat" in this short story? He quickly recalled that in a cafe on the Calle Brazil (a few dozen feet from Yrigoyen's house) there was ...
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Short story where people are handicapped in the name of fairness and equality

I remember part of a story, maybe a short story. In it, people are handicapped in different ways depending on what they're good at. People that are really strong have weights attached to them. ...
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Short story about a condemned organ

Well over 50 years ago I read a short story about an organ in a building (church or music hall?) which I believe had been slated for demolition. Rather than suffer the indignity of destruction at ...
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Short story about a scientist who (half jokingly) presented the theory that humans evolved from pigs, instead of apes

This was a short story from the 60's-70's. The story was part of an anthology, perhaps from one of the magazines at the time (since it wasn't award winning material). A scientist (or doctor) at a ...
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What connects the strangeness of the people and the magic of the bathroom?

I was just reading Turkish Short Stories from the October 2017 issue of Worlds Without Borders. In particular, the story "The Little Bathroom" by Sine Ergün (published freely online, and translated ...
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What is the significance of the title: “you should have seen the mess!” by Muriel Spark? [closed]

What is the significance of the title "you should have seen the mess!" by Muriel Spark?
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Where do the events take place in “Afternoon of an Author” by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

"The bus went past a pale Athenian railroad station brought to life by the blue shirted redcaps out in front". This is the description that gives the name of the place Athens. There's also a ...
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How is black being portrayed in “Black, Their Regalia” by Darcie Little Badger?

Black features fairly prominently in "Black, Their Regalia" by Darcie Little Badger - it's in the title, and black is fairly prominent throughout the story. The Apparently Siblings play neoclassical ...
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What is the correspondence between each story in Rivka Galchen's “American Innovations” and previously written stories?

In the LA Times article, "Rivka Galchen talks about putting a female twist on iconic stories" by Carolyn Kellogg, it is claimed that "The stories all have female narrators, and all (save one) are ...
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Meaning of some phrases and lines in “Quality” by John Galsworthy

I am reading "Quality" by John Galsworthy and there are some phrases and lines which I could not grasp. I thought that this site would be the perfect place to ask this question. Below are some lines ...
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What is Nick Bostrom's 'Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant' an analogy of?

Available, freely, online, is Nick Bostrom's The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant (2005), an essay or short story about a fictional dragon's tyranny and effect on/cost to society. CGP Grey adapted it into ...
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Antecedents for Hawthorne's Dr. Rappaccini

In the short story Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Rappaccini uses his own daughter as a subject in his great experiment, resulting in her living a life of isolation and eventually ...
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Automata in the Arabian Nights, specifically “The Story of the Magic Horse”

Christa A. Tuczay writes in “Motifs in ‘The Arabian Nights’ and in Ancient and Medieval European Literature: A Comparison” that automata remain a recurring motif in The Arabian Nights and that their ...
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Short Story about Lady (Teacher?) caught skinny dipping by kids

I recall long ago hearing or reading a story, (30-40 years ago?) (maybe a short story, or a tale or joke told in a story) Country setting: Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn or Little House on the Prairie type ...
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Is “Hyperdimension Warp Record” parodying/referring to a particular anime?

The short story "Fandom For Robots", written by Vina Jie-Min Prasad for Uncanny magazine,1 concerns a robot entering into the fandom of a particular anime TV series. As a member of an online sci-fi/...
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221 views

How does “How Nnedi Got Her Curved Spine” meet the definition of creative nonfiction?

The short story "How Nnedi Got Her Curved Spine" by Nnedi Okorafor details a story about a woman named Nnedi, who, while in the woods, was taken in by intelligent baboons and taught their first ...
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Why, in “Dagon” by Lovecraft does the narrator say that the readers will “never fully realize”?

The beginning of the Lovecraft story "Dagon" goes like this: I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the ...
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What is “machullah” in Stanley G. Weinbaum's short story Graph?

Nothing specific can be said from the context and only one thing came up in my google search. I know it's a name, and it's probably Arabic in origin. But it just doesn't add up to the story really. It'...
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What is the meaning of Flavie's final statement?

At the end of Nantas (1878) by Émile Zola, the last words of the short story are Flavie's final statement: ENGLISH: "I love you!", she cried to his neck, sobbing, tearing this confession from ...
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Story about a man who wins three bets with the devil

I read a story in my reading book in third or fourth grade about a man who got tricked into agreeing to three bets with the devil because the man was a great gambler. The man won all three bets and in ...
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Was “All Summer in a Day” based on any real childhood event?

Ray Bradbury's famous short story "All Summer in a Day", which can be read online, is about a girl from Earth, Margot, who's ostracised by her classmates on Venus. They've never seen the sun, but she ...
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How unreliable is the narrator in The Repairer of Reputations?

Spoilers abound in this question about this sci-fi horror short, so you might want to read it at Project Gutenberg first. However, there are two key points during the tale when things the narrator ...
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The personification process in “The City Born Great”

On the recommendation of BESW, I recently read the short story "The City Born Great" by N.K. Jemisin. Set in New York, it's all about the 'birth' of a city, and the struggle of these cities against ...
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When did the bacteriologist take the cab in “The Stolen Bacillus”?

When did the bacteriologist take the cab in the Wells short story "The Stolen Bacillus"? First he was running towards him, and then near the end we come to know that he is in a cab. Is it that him ...
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Was Hardy's “A Few Crusted Characters” based directly on the Canterbury Tales?

I've just been reading Thomas Hardy's A Few Crusted Characters (full text available online), which is essentially a collection of short stories or vignettes loosely bound together by a framing story. ...
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How and why were pronoun genders changed in “Winter's King”?

While reading up on the works of the great, recently deceased, author Ursula le Guin, I found the following tidbit on Wikipedia about her short story "Winter's King": Le Guin revised the story, ...
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Why did the waiter send Varajou where he did?

In Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Wrong House" (available on Project Gutenberg along with all of Guy de Maupassant's short stories), Quartermaster Varajou wishes to find a brothel, and asks a ...
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Story of a divided kingdom?

I have been trying to remember a short story I heard some time ago. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on the name of the story. I know very little of its origin. I'm not sure if it was ...
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What is the meaning of this sentence from A Retrieved Reformation?

This is a line from O. Henry's A Retrieved Reformation. The detective Ben Price is confident that Jimmy, now out on parole, has been to crack safes and: He'll do his bit next time without any ...
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Was Jonas Willard inspired by anyone in particular?

In Isaac Asimov's short story “Gold”, Laborian is clearly a self-insertion of Asimov himself, and the story in the story is Asimov's own book The Gods Themselves. I'm wondering though, what about the ...