Questions tagged [short-stories]

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

106 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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22
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452 views

Was Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum at all inspired by A Predicament?

Poe's satirical short story A Predicament tells the story of a woman who is slowly decapitated by the minute hand of a large cathedral clock. In all its ridiculous, it was supposed to be a horror ...
10
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667 views

A story in which a young girl saves a poor boy from a factory owner and meets that boy decades later

Yesterday, I was reading a 5th grader's comprehension book. It had multiple excerpts from good (if not well-known) novels. One of them particularly stood out to me. It was about a woman who lived in ...
10
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228 views

'Classical' horror short story in which overwork is linked to a supernatural demon

Having just had an exceptionally busy week, I've been trying to recall the details of a relevant short story whose name escapes me. I have the feeling it was a fairly old, 'classical' horror story - ...
9
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2k views

How is the concept of cultural encounter treated in the short story “One Out of Many”?

In the story "One Out of Many" by V.S. Naipaul, how is the concept of cultural encounter treated? I have a few questions about that: Is the author aware of the cultural encounter theme? How does he ...
8
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86 views

Short (possibly children's) story set in Norfolk glorifying the English Countryside

I have been trying to recall a short story for a while now, one which I read in 2009-2010 but is possibly older (it was part of a children's story collection whose name I cannot recollect, although I ...
7
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58 views

What does Borges' reference to the Greek mean in "The Lottery in Babylon"?

In the first section of his short story "The Lottery in Babylon", Borges writes: I have known that thing the Greeks knew not -- uncertainty. As far as I know, there was nothing specific ...
7
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106 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 ...
7
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58 views

Why does Uri get a special answer when his balloon pops?

In Miriam Roth's classic Hebrew children's book A Tale of Five Balloons (Hebrew: מעשה בחמישה בלונים), five children each get a balloon: In sequence, each child sees their balloon pop. And each is ...
6
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43 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 ...
6
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52 views

Identify a detailed-prose book of Aesop fables

At a school I no longer go to (Sydney, Australia, early 2010s, the book was in English), I read this book in the library that was a collection of Aesop's fables. The author had this very distinctive ...
6
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97 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 ...
6
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168 views

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 ...
6
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47 views

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 ...
6
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56 views

Do the stories in "The SEA is Ours" accurately portray the essential aspects of South-East Asian culture?

The SEA is Ours is this month's topic challenge. The purpose of these challenges is to increase the diversity of the literature that we discuss on this site. This is important for a number of reasons, ...
6
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373 views

Is there any evidence that Theremon 762's name was based on a theremin?

In Isaac Asimov's novel and short story (short story later expanded) Nightfall, there's a character named "Theremon 762". The whole novel is about darkness and innate fear, and a theremin, a type ...
5
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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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90 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 ...
5
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40 views

Is artists leaving their art forever a significant theme in R. K. Narayan's writing?

While reading the 1982 collection Malgudi Days of R. K. Narayan short stories, I noticed a common theme appearing in several of them, namely that of an artist who leaves their creative work behind ...
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97 views

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 ...
5
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67 views

Identify a story about a group of white men stuck at sea without water and a black guide that they ignore

I think I read this short story more than 20 years ago. The premise is: a group of men (who are white) hire a boat (or raft?) with a guide (who is black) to take them on a trip across a sea. The men ...
5
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83 views

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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83 views

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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3k views

Short story about a lady (teacher?) caught skinny dipping by kids

I recall long ago (30-40 years ago?) hearing or reading a story (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 ...
5
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53 views

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 ...
5
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3k views

How does the short story "Big World" from The Turning by Tim Winton explore aspects of Australian Identity?

The Turning by Tim Winton is a collection of short stories about turnings (obviously) at crucial times in people's lives. I've been asked to read and annotate the first short story in the series – “...
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68 views

What is the significance of the black void in "The Dancer on the Stairs"?

Sarah Tolmie's novelette The Dancer on the Stairs is a kind of portal fantasy, with the protagonist whisked away from our world into a strange fantastical one -- except the place she is whisked to is ...
4
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44 views

50/60s short story where a shipwrecked man hallucinates that his crush comes to him, he kills her; later she reads his confession in the newspaper

Who's the author of the following short story? It's a famous writer from the 50/60s. A clerk is in love with a female colleague who ignores him. When his mother dies, he picks up sailing. A storm ...
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45 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-...
4
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41 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 ...
4
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54 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 ...
4
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151 views

Story/article about the 1969 moon landing's meaning to a black man

Can you help me identify the short story or article? It was set in Florida in the summer of 1969 The writer asks a black man, working at his hotel, what he thinks of the excitement over the moon ...
4
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1answer
72 views

What do Connie's two navels represent?

Nick Joaquin's story "The Woman Who Had Two Navels" opens with the following words: When she told him she had two navels he believed her at once: (...) "She" is Connie de Vidal, ...
4
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40 views

What is the "hidden something" in Joseph Conrad's: Youth

In Joseph Conrad's short story Youth: A Narrative, Conrad writes What made them do it—what made them obey me when I, thinking consciously how fine it was, made them drop the bunt of the foresail ...
4
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739 views

Was Frederick Lawley based on a real figure in British India?

The fictional character of Frederick Lawley, a prominent British figure in colonial India, is the main object of R. K. Narayan's "Lawley Road" (a short story first published in 1956 in the eponymous ...
4
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0answers
48 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 ...
4
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0answers
103 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 ...
4
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0answers
42 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
60 views

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 ...
4
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92 views

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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0answers
188 views

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 ...
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46 views

"The Rocking Horse Winner" Characterization

I'm trying to analyze the characters Basset, Oscar, Hester, and Paul in D.H. Lawrence's short story "The Rocking Horse Winner", to know which ones are round characters and which ones are ...
3
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0answers
61 views

Where is the setting of "Time, as it evaporates..."?

I recently read an interesting story that was sought in an identification request on another site: the short story "Time, as it evaporates..." ("Le temps, en s'évaporant") by Jean-...
3
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0answers
33 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 ...
3
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0answers
52 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", ...
3
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0answers
50 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 ...
3
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0answers
45 views

What is the underlying message of the first story of 听你的 ("Up To You")?

I read an (untitled) short story: the first chapter of 《听你的》 (full text is here), and I don't feel I fully understand the plot. Here's my summarization: The main character "you" (unnamed) ...
3
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0answers
21 views

What is the literary effect of such long opening and closing sentences in "May Day Eve"?

Nick Joaquin's short story "May Day Eve" begins and ends with two extremely long sentences: The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight ...
3
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0answers
71 views

Short story about a drug addict in a prison in Mexico

I remember reading a short story on the internet a decade or so ago. It was told in first person, from the perspective of a middle class (male?) in the USA, who had some kind of medical problem that ...
3
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0answers
33 views

Why was the title of Mark Twain's jumping frog short story changed so much?

I just learned from another question about a short story by Mark Twain entitled "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", which, when I looked it up online to find a copy-pastable ...
3
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0answers
38 views

What did Miss Bentley see in "A Month By The Lake" by H. E. Bates?

In H. E. Bates' novella "A Month By The Lake", Miss Bentley and Miss Beaumont have to get changed in the same hut to go swimming (because most huts are occupied). Miss Bentley emerges ...