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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4
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0answers
32 views

Searching for US Nebraska middle school literature texts from the 70's

When I was in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in mid-70's, my school used a series of textbooks for the literature classes. I thought they were excellent collections and I've hunted for them several times ...
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1answer
41 views

“That’s because you’ve already made your wish.” What does it mean?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. In the frame story, ...
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1answer
19 views

Mystery short story where the owner of a dog is accidentally murdered via strychnine

I solved this one in the process of asking the question, so I'm self-answering. I remember it as being part of an Alfred Hitchcock anthology. The protagonists get pulled into investigating the ...
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44 views

What is the inner meaning of “A Common Confusion”?

"A Common Confusion" is a very short story by Franz Kafka, only three paragraphs long with an English translation available in full online: A common experience, resulting in a common confusion. A. ...
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Possible Jerome Salinger short book about hockey player and his girlfriend

I'm looking for a short book about hockey player and his girlfriend. I think it is by Jerome Salinger. I've already read 50% of his books, which I can find on public. Only story about this crazy ...
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Who is the second narrator character in Haruki Murakami's “Birthday Girl”?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. Much of it is written ...
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32 views

What was her wish in Haruki Murakami's “Birthday Girl”?

Haruki Murakami's short story "Birthday Girl", available to read online, is about a girl working part-time as a waiter who gets to make a special wish on her twentieth birthday. The first-person ...
2
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1answer
33 views

Young Horror Anthology - Short story with devices passed into a hole in a wall, returned powered by worms…?

I remember reading short story when I was young (in the 80s) where the protagonist passed a series of objects though a discovered portal (in their room?) and they were returned powered by - or ...
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43 views

What is the term used for a story's narrator becoming self-aware?

I was reading a short-story titled "A Face in the Dark" by Ruskin Bond. There's this passage in it: "It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a round smooth head — with a school cap on top ...
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children's short story about boy flying plane in storm

I am trying to identify and locate a children's short story about a boy who takes over the flying of a plane in a storm when the pilot becomes incapacitated. I am not sure, but I believe the boy was ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the children's Ark?

But the central object in the whole of this chamber of horrors was the engine known as the Iron Virgin, which stood near the centre of the room. It was a rudely-shaped figure of a woman, ...
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30 views

Meaning of 'bar a scrap' in “Squaw” by Bram Stoker

"Wall!" he said, "I guess I've not had enjoyment like this since I left Noo York. Bar a scrap with a French sailor at Wapping-an' that warn't much of a picnic neither-I've not had a show fur ...
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What does “minds her helium like a lady” mean in “The Terrible Voyage of the Toad”?

I have the following passage from 'The Terrible Voyage of the Toad' (1878) by Edward Page Mitchell: "Without intendin' to disperidge," continued the deacon, "her bottom's more putty'n timber." ...
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1answer
38 views

In “The Rattrap” why does the peddler sign as captain and how does it help to get free of the rattrap?

"The Rattrap" by Selma Lagelöf (short story) tells about a story of a rattrap seller, who thinks the world as a rattrap. It's a fun story, but what I fail to understand is why, at the end of the ...
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Short story about a bullied boy winning a rock throwing fight because he can throw rocks so that they curve

I read a short story back in the 2001/2002 time frame while I was in middle school. It may have been assigned reading, or part of a text book, or a library book I can't remember. I was reading it ...
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Story ID: U.S. soldier mistaken for football star in Japan

An acquaintance is trying to find a short story she read some years ago (I am sorry she could not identify how far). She thinks she read it in Reader's Digest, or in a collection of stories from it. ...
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98 views

meaning of 'dash about'

"That is a very dreadful story," said the Padre. "Very," said I, "and there are some rather odd points about it. Did commercial travellers dash about in motorcars when Popper was a youngster? And ...
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Looking for an old sci-fi tale about time-traveling

I can not remember the author, but this seems was Ray Bradbury. However, I've already read couple of his short stories, which would be matched by titles, and found nothing. It's probably not Ray ...
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60 views

Conclusion of 'The Trial for Murder' by Charles Dickens

What does the last quote of the short story 'The Trial for Murder' mean? Why did the 'Murderer' says [...] Before I was taken, he somehow got to my bedside in the night, woke me, and put a rope ...
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How to understand these expressions in Kevin Barry's OX Mountain Death Song?

The following excerpts are taken from Kevin Barry's OX Mountain Death Song. There are some expressions that I can't find in any dictionary, and I really want to know what do they mean. Question 1: ...
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53 views

What is the meaning of “decorator” and “got up in”?

The following text is an excerpt from "Wifey Redux" by Kevin Barry: I sighed and left the den. The way it worked, Ellie had the use of the sitting room down back of the ground floor; no teenager ...
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1answer
56 views

How to understand “ eight million quids’ worth of dental work”

The following sentence is taken from Wifey Redux by Kevin Barry: "He was seventeen, six two, with blonde, floppy hair, and about eight million quids’ worth of dental work." How to understand the ...
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2answers
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How to understand the title “Wifey Redux”

"Wifey Redux" is a short story by Kevin Barry and I am at a loss as to what the author meant by that title. Literally, it means Wifey Brought Back, but there is no indication in the story which ...
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1answer
71 views

Why did he die in “Philomel Cottage”?

"Philomel Cottage" is a short story by Agatha Christie which was recently identified as the answer to a story-ID question on our site. After seeing it there, I read the story in full - it's only 10 ...
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47 views

What is the Distracted Preacher never anxious to do in this long sentence?

In Hardy's The Distracted Preacher, the first page has this really long sentence: But when those of the inhabitants who styled themselves of his connection became acquainted with him, they were ...
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What is the meaning behind Poe's “The Assignation”?

Has anyone read and analyzed Poe's "The Assignation"? I read it and have a preliminary understanding of it but failed to perceive greater nuances by far.
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53 views

How to understand the meaning of “ Columbine types” and “sniper material”?

The following is an excerpt from Wifey Redux by Kevin Barry: "He wasn’t her usual type, so immediately I was worried. The usual type – so far as it had been established – was black-clad, pale-...
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1answer
76 views

Short story where a king uses a tiger to punish the accused

This story was a part of a collection that I read quite some time ago. Here are the details: Language: English Year: Unknown; but I read it sometime in the early 2000s (likely 2002-03). What I ...
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1answer
66 views

Short story identification: Color of the Taj Mahal, mother says “Death rides a fast horse behind me”

In grade school in the 1970s, I read a short story I would like to find again. I think it was assigned reading, a school book (reader) that one of the schools used. It may also have been in an old ...
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1answer
68 views

How to understand “made a picture” and “dates can work out”?

The following sentence is an excerpt from "Wifey Redux" by Kevin Barry: And we made a picture – I was a gorgeous kid myself. A Matt Dillon-type, people used to say, which dates me. But your dates ...
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Short story where an older lady realizes that her new beau has been murdering his wives, but decides to go with it

I was reading the TV Tropes entry for The Bluebeard and it made me recall a short story (probably less than 20 pages) I read probably in the early 2000s, I think part of a mystery anthology. The ...
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1answer
65 views

Is it true that short stories “must” end without definite conclusions?

In my native subcontinental literature, there is a notion that one of the identifying features of short stories is, it must end without a conclusion. The reader is left guessing. That is, the reader ...
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Story/children's story about a middle/high school boy asking out two girls to prom

Not exactly a book, but a short story, young-adult maybe. From what I can remember, the story was relatively short, something around 20-30 pages, maybe ? I remember reading the story about 8 years ago ...
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Has “The Duel” by Joseph Conrad been published in any recent story collections?

I'm a fan of the Ridley Scott film The Duellists (1977) which is based on the story "The Duel" by Joseph Conrad. I would like to read the original story, but whenever I search for paperback ...
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Typographical inconsistency in James Joyce's “Araby”

Sorry if this a fussy question, but in teaching "Araby" I have found that there is an inconsistency between editions that must be a typo, but I can't figure out which version is correct. Just after ...
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56 views

Is there a canonical order to HP Lovecraft's work?

I've been a big fan of Lovecraft's works of literature and used them as inspiration for a lot of my own writing, but I've been unable to find a proper consensus on how his stories all fit together or ...
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1answer
65 views

Trying to find: Short story: Boy meets a man who is about to hang himself

For decades this short story has been stuck in my head. We read it in highschool English class once. As I remember it, it was about a boy leaving his home to encounter a man who was about to hang ...
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121 views

Explain the bidding in ‘The Unprincipled Affair of the Practical Joker’

The short story ‘The Unprincipled Affair of the Practical Joker’ by Dorothy L. Sayers was collected in Lord Peter Views the Body (Gollancz, 1928). In this extract the characters are playing a game of ...
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Why does the guard call the inmates “girls” in “The Propagator”?

In Simone Kern's short story "The Propagator", there's a line where a prison guard for those convicted of "reproductive crimes" refers to the inmates as "girls": The guard leaned towards me, and ...
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65 views

Is there any significance to the name “friends of Lilith” in Simone Kern's “The Propagator”?

Simone Kern's "The Propagator" is set in a future where abortion is illegal, and anyone who tries it is persecuted for "reproductive crimes". During the story, we learn about the "friends of Lilith", ...
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66 views

In “Memories of Childhood”, why are two seemingly unrelated excerpts being presented together?

The unit "Memories of Childhood" (a short five minute read) is on my curriculum; I think it consists of excerpts from two different books, one by Zitkala-Sa and one by Bama, presented together. But ...
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40 views

What do “current words” mean in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton?

The below paragraph is from "Roman Fever'. "Alida Slade's awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks," would have summed it up; though she would have added, for the enlightenment of ...
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1answer
130 views

In 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton, why would Grace be raided?

I am reading Edith Wharton’s 'Roman Fever'. I have a couple of question which are beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. "I'd rather live opposite a speakeasy for a change; at ...
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371 views

In the short story “Should Wizard hit Mommy” by John Updike,what is the author conveying through his narrated story and contradicting actions

The short story "Should Wizard hit Mommy" by John Updike (a short five-to-ten-minute read) is on my curriculum; it involves a father who tells a nap-time story to his daughter. It appears to be a ...
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1answer
47 views

Who's this African soldier? What does Conrad mean?

Joseph Conrad's short story "The Idiots": Millot was stumbling, laughing, swearing meaninglessly out of pure satisfaction, pleased with himself for having run down that fly-by-night. “As if there ...
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1answer
68 views

How can Stella Salzman be Christian while her father Pinny Salzman is Jewish?

I was preparing for my exam , in exam solution book I found written like "There is cross cultural relation between Stella and Leo.Because Leo was Jewish and Stella was Christain." I wander is this a ...
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1answer
80 views

What is “a Man in the Top” in Crawford's 'The Screaming Skull'?

From 'The Screaming Skull' by F. Marion Crawford: I ought not to be nervous. I've sailed in a haunted ship. There was a Man in the Top, and two-thirds of the crew died of the West Coast fever ...
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57 views

Short story about a girl pursued by a fat man in the hills

The viewpoint is from a small girl who is living near to a gas station maybe in the midwest. It's a hot summer and she hears on the radio that there is a another dead child found. She goes to the gas ...
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1answer
2k views

US Civil War story: man hanged from a bridge

I read a story a long time ago about a Civil War soldier who was being hanged from a bridge but the rope broke and he escaped. It goes through all the things he went through after escaping but then it ...
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82 views

What is the language spoken in Babylon?

In the short story "The Lottery in Babylon", Jorge Luis Borges describes an imaginary society where a Lottery decides the fate of the people, with omnipotence and foresight. At the beginning of the ...

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