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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23 views

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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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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49 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
59 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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1answer
83 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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53 views

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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59 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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53 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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34 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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What is the logic in this quote about raids in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton? [duplicate]

I am reading Edith Wharton’s Roman Fever. I have a question which is beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. The phrase is as below from the original text. "I'd rather live ...
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1answer
100 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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1answer
74 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
45 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
64 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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66 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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55 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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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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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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54 views

“The Apple Tree” ending and the meaning behind it

I've recently been tasked with analysing "The Apple Tree" by John Galsworthy. I've had no major issues with understanding the text, but i really can't grasp the ending. Up on the top of the hill, ...
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80 views

Fairy tale about disguised Prince searching for Princess [closed]

I’m searching for a fairy tale I’m almost sure I once read as a child about a Prince who was searching for his Princess. Because all the established Princesses he knew from surrounding kingdoms were ...
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Short story by Flannery O'Connor: conversation used in psychology periodical

I'd like the title of the short story by Flannery O'Connor in which a man thinks he is engaging in friendly conversation only to find that his responses are used as data in an article published in a ...
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Why the title “Agunot” for S. Y. Agnon's short story?

S. Y. Agnon's first influential story is "Agunot" - in fact, his chosen name "Agnon" comes from the same word. The word "Agunot" is the plural form of the word "Agunah", which is the term for a woman ...
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95 views

How to interpret “body that leaned stiffly” in H. P. Lovecraft's “Azathoth”?

I've just finished reading Lovecraft's fragment "Azathoth" (in Italian translation) and I am astonished by the beauty of the story. Nevertheless I am a little bit confused about the end of it. In my ...
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96 views

Meaning of “rubber” as a verb in O. Henry

"I'm one of the Sole Sanhedrims and Ostensible Hooplas of the Inner Pulpit," says I. "The lame talk and the blind rubber whenever I make a pass at 'em. I am a medium, a coloratura hypnotist and a ...
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1answer
69 views

Looking for a short story about a person whose conversations run from A to Z

I'm looking for a short story of a person whose conversations all ran alphabetically. I think it's a rather known short story (I read it initially in German, but don't know, in which language it was ...
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1answer
81 views

In Penelope Fitzgerald’s short story The Prescription, significance of “Knowledge is good, but what is the use of knowledge without honesty?”

In Penelope Fitzgerald’s short story The Prescription (1982), Dr. Mehmet Bey almost kills his 14-year-old apprentice, Alecco, by forcing him to drink a poisoned prescription after discovering the boy ...
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1answer
253 views

How is Kimberly Clark a ghost in Janssen's “A Recurring Dream”?

In the short story "A Recurring Dream" (from Unusual Stories from Many Lands by Arlo T. Janssen), a character called Kimberly Clark is accused of being a ghost by an old man. The man opens the door ...
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What does “wisdom that is so often loudly preached” mean in the Parable of the King and the Maiden?

In the first paragraph of "The Parable of the King and the Maiden": Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden and whose heart was unaffected by the wisdom that is so often loudly preached. ...
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How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the “prenatal abyss”?

In the text of Vladimir Nabokov: The Beginning of Consciousness How does the author convey the tone of the panic that can be aroused by contemplating the "prenatal abyss"? The cradle rocks above ...
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Short story, maybe SF: non-neurotypical girl gets pregnant and older mentor (not the father) marries her

In this story there's a girl who is mentally fragile in some way -- I don't remember exactly how, and I don't think it's spelled out explicitly, but there's something about her that isn't entirely ...
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1answer
96 views

Why does Sammy feel sorry in Updike's “A&P”?

In John Updike's short story A&P, the narrator Sammy has been ogling a group of customers at the A&P store: In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. I'm in the third check-...
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120 views

What is the meaning of this sentence from “Polaris” by Lovecraft?

Below is a sentence from Lovecraft's "Polaris": I said to myself, "This is no dream, for by what means can I prove the greater reality of that other life in the house of stone and brick south of ...
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1answer
87 views

Short sci-fi story called “Blood and Lust”

Many years ago I read a short story that I think was titled "Blood and Lust". It featured two entities named Blood and Lust who would travel through history making very small adjustments to see how ...
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145 views

Anthology: one story about an astronaut falling on flowers, another about a wife trying to kill her husband

I am trying to remember the name of a book with short stories inside. I remember 2 stories from it: There was an astronaut on a foreign planet with flowers all around called floofs or phoofs, I ...
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56 views

What kind of “portable telephone” does H. P. Lovecraft write about in his letter to August Derleth?

The letter is called "Letter to August Derleth". He describes a frightful dream he had to Derleth. In this dream, he and his friend Loveman go to a old cemetery to investigate a sepulchre and Loveman ...
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1answer
134 views

Looking for a shoujo/romance one-shot manga

I am looking for a short manga or a one-shot (not really sure) about the main guy who bumps into a girl on his way to school and the girl drops her hair pin which she got from her crush (childhood ...
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46 views

Question about a personal interpretation of Mckee's basic elements of Story: events and beats

I would like to propose a "technical/practical" interpretation of Mckee's basic story elements. My interpretation is some sort of a set theoretical motivated, on which the construction of the next ...
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71 views

In Going Places by A.R. Barton, does Sophie really meet Danny Casey?

In the story Going Places by A.R. Barton, the plot revolves around the story of a schoolgirl Sophie, who fantasizes over many things, but no one ever believes her. Can someone please confirm whether ...
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206 views

Which of the following statements best describes the relationship between Ulrich and Georg?

This question comes from the story "The Interlopers" by Saki. Due to their families’ longtime feud, they both consider each other enemies and trespassers. They were once friends, but after inheriting ...
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100 views

Where did the Grimm brothers' story “The Shepherd Boy” originate?

"The Shepherd Boy" is a very short story by the Brothers Grimm which recently found fame in the world of popular sci-fi by being referenced prominently in an episode of Doctor Who. In general it is ...
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253 views

What is the significance of “half past two” in Wolfgang Borchert's The Clock and The Bread?

In both The Clock and The Bread by Wolfgang Borchert there is a mention of the events happening at "half past two" in the morning. I have been unable to find a historical event of World War Two that ...
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442 views

A short story on two brothers meeting one a criminal one policeman

I read this around 15 years ago in English as a Second Language class in a summer class I was attending in Poughkeepsie. We were reading short stories from a book (a collection of short stories by ...
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176 views

How are old horror short stories classified?

When I was young, I had a few books with compiled horror, mystery or macabre short stories. I want to go back and read some of these short stories, and was able to find a few. I was able to find many ...
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100 views

Restaurant serves everything with money back guarantee, patron defeats them by ordering a Twinkie

I'd like to find a short short story, probably only one page long. I've read it on the internet in English less than two years ago, probably around 2018-08-04 when I was binging short short stories. ...
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1answer
46 views

Radical Canadians and Radio Broadcasts

Long ago, I was told to study a part of a short story. It was about a group of radical Canadians, and radio broadcasts. I want to ID that story, so I can find and study it again. It had a ...
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100 views

Is “The Most Dangerous Game” Literature?

Way back in high school, many many years ago, our teacher described to us what made something literature or not. This lesson always stuck with me for two reasons: 1) I didn't really think it was ...
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124 views

What inspired E. M. Forster's short story 'The Machine Stops'?

E. M. Forster's short story 'The Machine Stops' was published in the 1909 edition of the Oxford & Cambridge Review and was prescient in terms of thinking about the downsides of the Internet - well ...