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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Was Akutagawa's Shōgun ("The General") ever censored in Japan? If so, how?

I know books which criticize the military were censored in Japan during the interwar period. I'm wondering if this specific story was censored, and if so, roughly when/for how long? Also, what did the ...
blueberryfields's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
23 views

Looking for a book with the story of a little boy who rode a train and was found later dead

So I remember my mom reading this book full of many short stories and this one has stuck with me the most. A boy and his friends decide to do this thing where they hop on a train and ride for awhile ...
Alondra Pena's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

Meaning of description of Jim waking in "The Gift of the Magi"

What is the meaning of these lines from O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"? Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet ...
Shaurya Kaushal's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
498 views

What was the name of this story referring to 17-year cicadas?

Several decades ago, I read a short story where a woman sees 17-year cicadas emerging. This leads her to recall several vignettes from her life, from the previous times she encountered 17-year cicadas ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
51 views

Why does this Artem Chapeye short story seem to imply that Ukrainian mass transit is a fast method of travel?

The short story The Ukraine (by Artem Chapeye, in the collection Love in Defiance of Pain) has the following quote: Almost every weekend, she and I would get on a train or a bus and head off ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
62 views

Why is the character's speech reported indirectly? What does the indirect report express?

Context: Carol is a divorced woman from work that Carlyle (the protagonist) started seeing a few months after his wife had left him and the kids. Carlyle has not been successful in finding a good ...
Amin's user avatar
  • 41
2 votes
0 answers
75 views

Short Story About A Newspaper Carrier Whose Newspapers Get Wet Due To Rain - Printed in an Early 1970s 8th Grade English Literature Textbook

I am searching for the title of a short story that is about a newspaper carrier who is a male child that is approximately the age of 10 to 16. In the short story, the newspaper carrier is delivering ...
daffodils2000's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
71 views

Science fiction story in which African dictator is overthrown by his son

This story was written 1984 or earlier, I believe. It was part of the sociological science fiction trend and really had nothing science fiction-like in it other than being set in some unspecified ...
user254694's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
63 views

Does Carver's "Fever" use free indirect speech?

From "Fever" by Raymond Carver: The next morning, when the alarm went off, he wanted to keep his eyes closed and keep on with the dream he was having. Something about a farmhouse. And there ...
Amin's user avatar
  • 41
5 votes
0 answers
67 views

What is the meaning of "to go buy oil" in Manto's "Mummy"?

Toward the beginning of Saadat Hasan Manto's short story "मम्मी" (mammi / Mummy), the narrator and his wife find themselves abandoned to the tender mercies of a friend's slow-moving servant: ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
4 votes
1 answer
69 views

What is the original of the Saadat Hasan Manto short story translated as "Rude"?

I have been reading Saadat Hasan Manto's Bombay Stories, a compilation translated from the Urdu by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad (2012; New York: Vintage, 2014). Alongside the English translations, I've ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
1 vote
0 answers
43 views

Short story about a woman yearning for her dream home

Years ago, I read a short story and I can’t find it. It is about a couple who are part of the working poor—probably the 40s or 50s. The woman complains most of the time about their conditions. But she ...
Michael Phillips's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
66 views

Name of short story about girl surviving winter

I read this story maybe ten years ago? It was in pioneer times (?) and a girl, her brother and father were going through a mountain pass to reach a town to sell their wares. They went in the autumn, ...
Elizabeth's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
803 views

Short story with a witch, party crackers, and something prophetic stitched in a hem

Many years ago (35?) I got a short story collection from the library. One had or revealed a witch. It referenced party crackers (like the British Christmas favors) and had something, maybe prophetic, ...
Shawn1475's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
80 views

In Bradbury's short story, how can a city be built in the shape of the wind?

“The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind” is a short story by Ray Bradbury, first published in 1953. It tells the tale of two neighboring Chinese cites, ruled by emperors who continually attempt to foil each ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Short story (maybe an excerpt from a book) about some kids on a farm - simulated bucking bronco and swapped horses at a hoe down

I was just recounting this to someone, but as a child, we had a book with various stories, I think primarily about rural people. I have a vague memory of that it might have included the Little House ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
  • 10.6k
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

What did Stefan Zweig mean when he said "becoming old is no longer being afraid of the past"?

In 24 hours in the life of a woman, Stefan Zweig writes "becoming old is no longer being afraid of the past". What did he mean by this?
LMol's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
49 views

Why does the Devil "glower" at Benedict Arnold's absence in "The Devil and Daniel Webster"?

The short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is filled with topical and historical references, and clearly has a moral opinion on colonial American history. Generally speaking, this moral ...
Adrian Petrescu's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
591 views

What is the source of this poem/song Captain Hastings quotes in Agatha Christie's "The Market Basing Mystery"?

Agatha Christie's short story "The Market Basing Mystery," narrated by Hercule Poirot's companion Captain Arthur Hastings, includes the following: "This is the life," said Japp. &...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
2 votes
1 answer
135 views

Why was "The Love Detectives" not included in Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin?

Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin, first published in April 1930, included 11 short stories that had appeared in various British and American magazines between March 1924 and October 1929. ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
5 votes
0 answers
72 views

Was Agatha Christie's short story "Magnolia Blossom" inspired by Ibsen?

In both incident and theme, Agatha Christie's short story "Magnolia Blossom" has several parallels with Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. In Christie's story, Theodora Darrell is on the point ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
4 votes
1 answer
573 views

What is the source of this quote within Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin?

In Agatha Christie's short story "The Face of Helen," Mr Satterthwaite sees an extremely beautiful young woman named Gillian West. His first impression is that she ranks with legends such as ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
5 votes
1 answer
137 views

Examining the parallels between R.K. Narayan's "Selvi" and "The Guide" - Why was it done? What did it achieve?

That there are several parallels between R.K. Narayan's novel The Guide (1958) and his short story "Selvi" (1982) is no secret, and I found many results (too many to sift through) that ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 2,823
4 votes
0 answers
134 views

identify a Douglas Adams-ish short story about a failed attempt to communicate with aliens that ends with an anticlimactic sentence

When I was a teenager I read a story about scientists who received radio signals (or something like that) of extraterrestrial origin but were unable to decode them. After many years of receiving these ...
Marcelle Pernet's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
50 views

Short story about a boy who lives with his hard-working father, with a mother who had left them

A short story I think I read in the early 2010s: It's about a boy whose mother left him following a falling out with his father, so now the new status quo was the father coming home after a long day ...
Richie Bendall's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
75 views

Sci-Fi Short Story - Moon brings devastating tides to alien planet

I recall a short story I read in High School. We read it in English class so it was likely published in an anthology intended for use in schools. (This was in Scotland in the 1970's if that helps.) It ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19k
4 votes
0 answers
56 views

Story from a book of unusual fairy tales, about a beast that terrorized a village from a pond of milk

When I was a kid I read a book that had a collection of unusual fairy tale stories. One story was about a hero who wished to defeat a beast. This beast had made a deal with a village. The deal was ...
user19922's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
122 views

What is the symbolism of the last red flower in 'A Red Flower'?

What is the symbolism of the last red flower in this short story (titled A Red Flower) about madness? I suspect it means, in a fragmentary way, to show that love kills us, and the one we die with will ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
79 views

What's the significance of this sentence in the tale "Ladri in chiesa" by Alberto Moravia?

The tale Ladri in chiesa (Thefts in church) belongs to the book Racconti romani (Roman tales) by Alberto Moravia. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any translation to English of this short ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,224
2 votes
1 answer
51 views

Goosebumps book about 2 kids in a haunted school

I remember reading a book, quite a long time ago, about a guy who is sent to a haunted school, where all the children are ghosts, except for a single girl, who is human like him, and she help in ...
Agnijo Das's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
122 views

Has complete Moravia's "Racconti romani" been translated to English?

At Internet Archive one can find a book with the title Roman tales, which is in fact a selection of Moravia's Racconti romani translated to English by Angus Davidson and published in 1959. In words of ...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,224
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Seeking story about chess in Soviet Union, probably Playboy c.1980?

I actually read some girlie mags for the stories growing up...this was probably in Playboy, with a lower chance of it being from Penthouse. A Soviet apparatchik has commissioned a ceremonial chess set ...
scottef's user avatar
  • 255
1 vote
1 answer
112 views

What is the meaning of the following sentence of The Swimmer by John Cheever?

What is the meaning of the following sentence of The Swimmer by John Cheever? His life was not confining, and the delight he took in this thought could not be explained by its suggestion of escape.
Wawrzyniec Pruski's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
78 views

Boy keeps breaking pocket watch fighting, opts to pay watchmaker himself rather than ask mother

I read a short story in English circa 1980-85 (although it may have been published much earlier) about a boy who carries an expensive pocket watch (perhaps inherited) but keeps getting in schoolyard ...
Lee C.'s user avatar
  • 131
4 votes
1 answer
131 views

Are romantic relationships where one character has fair skin and the other dark a motif of Ismat Chughtai's stories?

I've been reading some short stories by Ismat Chughtai, where I've noticed a repeating motif of romantic relationships in which one person has light skin and the other has dark. The Veil: "At ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 2,823
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Book of short stories I read as a kid; one story about a starving girl, one about a boy who stays forever young

I can remember two short stories, and while I am not entirely sure if they're from the same book, I would hugely appreciate finding either. The first story I remember reading about was about a girl ...
Stale Sandwich's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
123 views

Why would something bad fall on you because of a bad fish?

In part of Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl", these pieces of advice appear: this is how to catch a fish; this is how to throw back a fish you don’t like, and that way something bad won’t fall on ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
4 votes
2 answers
810 views

What's the significance of the baker not letting her feel the bread in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" ends like this: [..] this is how to make ends meet; always squeeze bread to make sure it’s fresh; but what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?; you mean to ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
5 votes
2 answers
562 views

Why are the mentions of being "bent on becoming a slut" repeated like this in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" has several mentions of "the slut you are bent on becoming": always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach; on Sundays try ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
2 votes
1 answer
174 views

What did Arthur C Clarke mean when he described the builders of Comarre as being the "Decadents"?

In Arthur C. Clarke's "The Lion of Comarre", the faction that built the city are referred to as being the Decadents by the protagonist, and by several other characters who acted as narrators ...
Aaargh Zombies's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
168 views

How does the style of Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" affect the way it's read?

Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" is written in a very distinct style. The story is made up of one very long sentence, with different phrases separated by semicolons, each phrase giving a different ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
2 votes
0 answers
176 views

What's the significance of spitting up into the air in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

Part of the advice given in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" is on how to spit: this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
3 votes
2 answers
875 views

What "might not be a blackbird at all" in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

Part of Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" goes like this: don’t pick people’s flowers—you might catch something; don’t throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all; this is ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
0 votes
0 answers
88 views

Why isn't the line about "how to love a man" split up in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

In Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl", there's this line towards the end, about "how to love a man": this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
7 votes
1 answer
328 views

Why did the Pit and the Pendulum lack historical authenticity?

The Pit and the Pendulum is set in Toledo, Spain during the height of the Spanish Inquisition which began in 1478. In the story, Poe references the Jacobin club, which was an influential political ...
steelersquirrel's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
567 views

What's up with the mentions of "singing benna" in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"?

In Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl", there are repeated mentions of "singing benna", in a sequential pattern: [...] soak salt fish overnight before you cook it; is it true that you sing ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

What does "grinning" mean in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"?

At the beginning of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen", when describing the distorting mirror that would then shatter, the word "grin" is used: If a good thought passed ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
4 votes
2 answers
296 views

What's the purpose of the last paragraph of Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

At the end of "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol, the ghost of Akaky Akakyevitch disappears once the Very Important Official has reformed his ways. However, after that satisfying conclusion to ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.2k
0 votes
0 answers
65 views

Short story with a man who keeps passing out due to his starched collar poking his neck

Weird isolated memory, but I was recently at our church, and when I turned my head, the collar put pressure on the side of my neck, which suddenly reminded me of a short story I read, probably in the ...
Sean Duggan's user avatar
  • 10.6k
0 votes
0 answers
120 views

Ending of Joyce Carol Oates story "Lady with a pet dog"

This is a rewritten Chekhov story. This is the epiphany moment for Anna, when she accepts their love, but the ending is still quite ambiguous. Their love beginning again, in spite of them? “How can ...
adso76's user avatar
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