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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3
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1answer
32 views

What is meant by "descent of their last end"?

What does "the descent of their last end" mean in James Joyce's The Dead? His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Short story about a young boy living in South Africa during Apartheid

I believe I read this story in my AP Literature textbook, but can't recall the name. It's about a young boy living in South Africa during Apartheid who is ironically killed by the fence surrounding ...
3
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0answers
31 views

"Beauty and the Beast" type short story where the beast wins her by playing cards with the father and cries gems to woo her

I'm looking for a beauty and the beast type short story where the beast wears a mask and wins the beauty by playing cards with her dad. I remember that the beast cries diamonds or some type of gem and ...
4
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0answers
42 views

Why were the young students called Sea Cats in "A Lost Lag B'Omer"?

In Sholom Aleichem's short story "A Lost Lag B'Omer", there's this paragraph: We called the young primer students the Sea Cats because they were short little tots, just learning the aleph-...
2
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2answers
47 views

What's the meaning of "narrow" in "a narrow pretty greyhound of a woman"?

The following is a sentence from The Tunnel, or The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham. Rebecca sees the wife around Cambridge, a narrow pretty greyhound of a woman, with a face that is at once ...
2
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2answers
101 views

What does "nada y pues nada" mean in Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

I am not looking for a direct translation, but rather how this passage fits into the story as a whole. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it ...
6
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2answers
859 views

How to understand “a dumb or a talking brute” in The Ransom of Red Chief?

But I glanced at Bill, and hesitated. He had the most appealing look in his eyes I ever saw on the face of a dumb or a talking brute. The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry The word “brute” has several ...
3
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1answer
72 views

What did it mean for Pandit Udaybhan Pandey to own the entire village?

In Catastrophe by Munshi Pramchand, the main character (a woman named Bhungi) "lived in Pandit's village... [who] had the full authority to make her do any sort of odd job." He was described ...
1
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1answer
54 views

Why was Bhungi poor in spite of having an apparently thriving business?

In Catastrophe by Munshi Premchand, a woman owned a parching oven. Apparently, business was quite good: "The village folk have one meal a day of parched grain, so there was always a crowd around ...
2
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2answers
87 views

Why was 50 considered old in Premchand's day?

The main character of the Catastrophe short story (in the collection Short Stories by Munshi Premchand) was descried as "an old, childless widow" who "didn't own either a scrap of land ...
2
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0answers
63 views

Short story where aliens provide choice of escape from Earth to all species. All leave except for dogs, which remain with behind with humans

Short story where aliens provide a choice of escape from Earth to all the species. All leave except for dogs, which remain with behind with humans.
5
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0answers
52 views

NY short stories - woman wears towel for landlord, woman tricks rich man to take her to Napa, priest falls into elevator shaft while wrestling a drunk

A woman who won't pay the rent. When the landlord comes to the door and tries to talk to her, she stands with only a very short towel in front of her. Eventually she has to move and does this all ...
5
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1answer
105 views

Explain the plot of Georgette Heyer’s ‘Linckes’ Great Case’

Georgette Heyer is best known for her Regency romances, but early in her career: Georgette decided to try her hand at detective fiction. In March 1923 ‘Linckes’ Great Case’ appeared in The Detective ...
3
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1answer
365 views

What is "the Saar" in The Last Lesson?

In The Last Lesson, written by Alphonse Daudet, there is this paragraph: My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry ...
1
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of "drew the lower jaw in" from "To Build A Fire"

In the story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, there is a line which I find too complex to interpret. After some manipulation he managed to get the bunch between the heels of his mittened ...
4
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0answers
40 views

Wife kills husband short story, NOT "Lamb to the Slaughter", where the wife giggles at the thought of killing him

I'm looking for the title of a short story, NOT "Lamb to the Slaughter," but another one I used to compare and contrast with it. It had a wife and husband, very much in 1950s roles, talking ...
1
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0answers
74 views

Role of religious belief in Flannery O'Connor's fiction?

According to the Wikipedia article about Flannery O'Connor, [h]er writing reflected her Roman Catholic faith and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. The article's section about the ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

Was the title of "O Russet Witch!" a quotation from somewhere?

Fitzgerald's story "'O Russet Witch!'" appears in his collection Tales of the Jazz Age. The quotation marks are part of the story's title; it's the only story in the collection to sport this ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Why is Roald Dahl's short story called "Nunc Dimittis"?

Roald Dahl wrote a short story called "Nunc Dimittis" (though Wikipedia states that it was first published in 1953 as "The Devious Bachelor"). The story is described here on ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of "She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse."

I'm reading "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" by Arthur Conan Doyle. I came across this sentence by the character Violet Hunter: Mrs. Rucastle seemed to me to be colorless in mind as ...
5
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1answer
134 views

Short animal stories book identification

I remember reading a book about 20 years ago, containing lots of short stories (each one being only a couple of pages long). The stories were not connected to each other at all. Each story have a ...
6
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0answers
42 views

Hindi short story where a painter makes a painting of his dying son

I read a Hindi short stories book around at least 8-10 years ago. One of the stories I still remember (some of it), as I found it very strange/disturbing. I remember some of it, but want to read the ...
2
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0answers
70 views

Trying to find a story called "The Curse of the Phantom Rolls Royce"

As a child (at 12 or 13, ~55 years ago) I read a story called "The Curse of the Phantom Rolls Royce" and I loved it. It wasn’t a big book so I think it was a stand alone story. I certainly ...
3
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2answers
53 views

Meaning of "You never came and you never went" in Eudora Welty's "A Visit of Charity"

I can't understand what the sentence "You never came and you never went" is related to. Does it clarify the previous utterance or is it a new thought which says that the person has never ...
1
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1answer
51 views

Short story about a wealthy man bringing his new wife to his childhood home, from when he was poor, which is in the mountains/wilderness

I'm looking for a short story that I think I listened to as an audiobook, in a collection with other stories, in the early 2000s, checked out from a library in Ashland, KY. I was reminded of this when ...
4
votes
1answer
438 views

Short story about secret spy betrayed at a secret party, boss got stuck in trap while looking for files

I think I read it five or six years ago from a collection of novels written by one writer. A man is a spy in a secret illegal organization, one day he took part in a secret party, but he had been ...
5
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0answers
86 views

Why is Jacques Kohn wearing a "father-murderer" collar?

In the description of Jacques Kohn in the beginning of Isaac Bashevis Singer's "A Friend of Kafka", he's described as wearing this: Although he still dressed in the style of a dandy, his ...
2
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2answers
80 views

Is Von Bork's "I've been there" the idiomatic expression here, in "His Last Bow"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from His Last Bow by Conan Doyle. “.. It was on my first arrival. I was invited to a week-end gathering at the country house of a cabinet minister. The conversation ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What does "more than I gave" mean in "I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from The Three Gables by Conan Doyle. .. but naturally I was interested in what he said. I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave. Here I’m not ...
4
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0answers
50 views

Why does the Talkative Man's master say that one ought not to play the raga 'punnaga varali' at night?

In the short story The Snake-Song (a part of the collection titled Malgudi Days), the Talkative Man describes an event in his youth that led to him having to abandon his music: the Talkative Man had ...
14
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1answer
959 views

Short story about a detective and criminal who disguise themselves and interact while in pursuit

I read a short story around 1996 in the US. I think it was part of a 5th grade reader book (kind of a compilation of short stories at the appropriate reading level). I remember thinking the story was ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

What is the correct translation of the title "Les Fourmis" by Boris Vian?

The literal translation of "les fourmis" is "the ants". It is one of the titles under which the story was published in English (for example, the translation by Rawdon Corbett). The ...
4
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1answer
75 views

What is the meaning of cleaning the samovar in "To Be Held for Reference" by Rudyard Kipling?

From "To Be Held for Reference" by Rudyard Kipling: “All things considered, I doubt whether you are the luckier. I do not refer to your extremely limited classical attainments, or your ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

What's the title of the short story about wife accidentally eating all of her husband's food so she cooked "something" instead?

I am not actually sure if this is a story I have watched, or read, or both. Certainly I have watched it as I have pictures on my mind. Anyway, the plot is: The wife is (I guess) abused by her husband. ...
29
votes
4answers
10k views

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

The first three sentences of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi are as follows: One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. I've always wondered about this. This ...
3
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0answers
51 views

Katherine Anne Porter's "HE": What is He?

I recently read Katherine Anne Porter's "He", and, after reading it twice, am still left in the dark about one thing. It is said that "Rolls of fat covered Him like an overcoat", ...
0
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1answer
153 views

Analyzing Thomas Mcguane's "Balloons"

Recently, The New Yorker came out with Thomas Mcguane's short story "Balloons". It is a short piece of fiction, really. However, it wasn't clear to me what the author intended to convey ...
-1
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1answer
72 views

Is "Doctor Marigold" the nickname of the cheap-jack, or is "Marigold" his real name?

Doctor Marigold is the titular "cheap-jack" in Dickens' Doctor Marigold. Is "Marigold" his real name, with "Doctor" an addition, or is "Doctor Marigold" a ...
3
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0answers
48 views

Tragedy About Bear Whose Mom Died

Trigger warning: story deals with death, depression, graphic abuse of animals. I haven't been able to find this short story. I don't recall if I heard it as part of a podcast or read it online. I came ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

What does "perverse madonna" mean?

What is a "perverse madonna"? In the short story "The Boarding House" by James Joyce, Polly is compared to a "perverse madonna". Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Identification of a Maupassant short story where a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress

In a short story by Maupassant, a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress, a rather paradoxical situation since he came much later after the infidelities (and somehow benefited ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Which Maupassant short stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870?

I read somewhere that Maupassant wrote ten short stories on the 1870 war between France and Prussia. I know "Boule de suif", "Deux amis", "Un duel", "Madame Sauvage&...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Why is the gesture of the rebel noble in "The Man with the Scar"?

In the William Somerset Maugham short story "The Man with the Scar", the general considers the gesture of the rebel as a noble gesture. I don't understand why. He killed his love, the girl ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

A man is in court because a company wants his prostheses back

I forgot the title of the short story. It is about a man who is in court because of his prostheses. If I remember correctly he was a famous motorbiker. A company wants all his prostheses back, because ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

In The Blue Cross, what is the mailbag trick?

From the Father Brown story "The Blue Cross": It was he who had kept up an unaccountable and close correspondence with a young lady whose whole letter-bag was intercepted, by the ...
5
votes
1answer
334 views

What are nuts and super-nuts in Saki's "Beasts and Super-Beasts"?

In Saki's Beasts and Super-Beasts he refers to "Nuts" and "Super-Nuts". For example, we have “You are not going to be what they call a Nut, are you?” she inquired with some ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

What do the yellow banners in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Haunted Palace" symbolize?

The story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe contains a poem, "The Haunted Palace", which starts like this: In the greenest of our valleys,     By good angels ...
1
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0answers
49 views

In "The Third Level", does the third level really exist or is it a mere hallucination?

In the short story "The Third Level" by Jack Finney, does the third level in the Grand Central Station really exist or, is it just in Charley's imagination? Does Sam Wiener really go to 1894,...
1
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0answers
45 views

Short story, 19th century: French country priest and devil exchange subjectivities

I am looking for a 19th century short story. I thought it was written by Guy de Maupassant, but didn't find it. A French country priest starts having vivid dreams that he is a diabolical courtier in ...
10
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1answer
147 views

Sci-fi short story about not getting into cars with strangers

I read this story in English in the 2000s (although it was probably much older), in a collection or anthology of several short stories by different authors; I think the collections may have been ...

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