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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51 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 ...
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0answers
41 views

“BlackBerry Winter” by Robert Penn Warren [closed]

Could anyone please provide a link to Robert Penn Warren's short story BlackBerry Winter? I couldn't hunt it down on the Internet despite trying hard.
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1answer
60 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 ...
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0answers
42 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
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1answer
72 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
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1answer
100 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
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1answer
94 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
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1answer
40 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 ...
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38 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 ...
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2answers
64 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 ...
4
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1answer
297 views

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

In Saki's Beasts and Super-Beasts (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/269/269-h/269-h.htm) he refers to "Nuts" and "Super-Nuts". For example, we have “You are not going to be what ...
3
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1answer
120 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 ...
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44 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,...
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41 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 ...
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1answer
96 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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2answers
284 views

What literary device is used in from “one thing to another”?

The extract is Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we ...
2
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1answer
51 views

In the short story “The Last Lesson” by Alphonse Daudet, what do the following signify?

"The Last Lesson" is a short story by Alphonse Daudet (link to the English translation). What is the significance/symbolism/meaning of the following aspects of the story? The watcher's ...
5
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1answer
48 views

What's the significance of leap years in Poe's “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”?

Edgar Allan Poe's story “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade” (link to full text) has this curious sentence. This is about Scheherazade volunteering to marry the king, despite knowing that ...
3
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1answer
226 views

What is the “dark star” in Fritz Leiber's “The Pail of Air”?

Fritz Leiber's short story "A Pail of Air" (available to read online at Project Gutenberg) is set in a post-apocalyptic world, with a family who believe they are the only survivors after the ...
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1answer
23 views

Meaning of “seldom anything but”

These old folks, you must know, were quite poor, and had to work pretty hard for a living. Old Philemon toiled diligently in his garden, while Baucis was always busy with her distaff, or making a ...
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1answer
66 views

What is the meaning of “broads” in Hemingway's short story Fifty Grand?

What is the meaning of "broads" in Hemingway's short story Fifty Grand? Here's the context: The three of us, Jack Brennan, Soldier Bartlett, and I were in Hanley’s. There were a couple of ...
4
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1answer
66 views

Robot Beings who are hunted for fuel who say “Toot Toot” to each other

I remember a short story but can't remember the name of the story or author. It is about alien/robotic beings that have been hunted to the edge of extinction because they are an exceptional fuel ...
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1answer
16 views

What does “who allows his honesty the benefit of the doubt” mean?

I was reading A.G. Gardiner’s On Umbrella Morals and in the second paragraph occurs these lines In fact he is a thoroughly honest man who allows his honesty the benefit of the doubt. I want an ...
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1answer
25 views

Understanding the last lines from Oscar Wilde’s The Model Millionaire

The Model Millionaire is a short story about a young man, named Hughie Erskin, who although does not have much money himself, is moved to pity by the sight of an elderly beggar who is posing as model ...
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51 views

In “Should Wizard Hit Mommy?” is Claire white? [duplicate]

In John Updike's short story "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?", is Jack's wife Claire a white woman? Are there any clues in the lesson that suggest that?
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1answer
84 views

A fable in which pigs with human heads are born because the swineherds had no women with them

I am trying to find a fable I read a long time ago (some 40 years ago, maybe), probably in a collection of short stories / fables, probably in Spanish. From what I have been searching so far, it seems ...
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0answers
26 views

Short story - Man transports a dead dog to a field, but gets accused of murder with the blood in his van considered to be evidence

I think I read this in an anthology, probably in the 1980s or 1990s, possibly one of the Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. At the beginning, a man is transporting a dead dog to a field to bury it. I'm not ...
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0answers
52 views

Manga one-shot, guy helps bullied girl and competition with penalty for not speak well

I am looking for a one shot about a girl (I think wearing glasses) who can't speak loudly, and whose English is bad. Even her teacher has a hard time with her. A guy who sees her get bullied helps ...
2
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1answer
60 views

Is either Rhoda Brook or Gertrude Lodge portrayed negatively in “The Withered Arm”?

Thomas Hardy's short story "The Withered Arm" (freely available to read online) revolves largely around two female characters, Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge, the two "viewpoint" ...
6
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1answer
575 views

Why is the country conjuror referred to as a “white wizard”?

In Thomas Hardy's short story "The Withered Arm" (freely available to read online), Gertrude Lodge and Rhona Brook go together to see a man named Trendle, often called Conjuror Trendle, who ...
3
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1answer
91 views

“What the Turk do it matter to us”?

In the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm", the following passage is found (emphasis mine): The discussion waxed so warm that the purr of the milk streams became jerky, ...
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1answer
47 views

Spy story involving a strong magnet, a ludicrously precise X-Ray machine, and a code book

I read this somewhere in the early 90s, from a paperback book, in English. I would have sworn that this was one of the stories in Alfred Hitchcock's Sinister Spies collection, as I remember it being ...
3
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0answers
41 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) ...
2
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0answers
33 views

Short story in orient-style city, man abusing the children who teaches him to play an instrument, covered by his wife

I am looking for what I think is a short story that I read approximately 8-10 years ago. I read it in French, but I think it was a translation. I vaguely remember that the story is set in a oriental-...
9
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1answer
778 views

Identification of a short story about a short irrefutable self-evident proof that God exists that is kept secret

I am trying to find a short story (about 20 - 30 pages long) I read a couple of years ago. Here is what I recall: The central idea is that a [catholic] priest creates (and writes) a very short (about ...
2
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0answers
59 views

What short story has a soldier deliver a secret message like “shoot the messenger”?

I recall a story, written in English, about a British or American WW1 or WW2 soldier who has to cross enemy lines to deliver a message which he was not to read. In the rain and mud, fearing the ink ...
2
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1answer
161 views

Roald Dahl short story - wife kills drunkard husband by spiking his drink

I am trying to remember the name of a short story by Roald Dahl, about a man who systematically got drunk at home every Saturday night. His wife kills him, I think by putting something in his drink.
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55 views

Short story - man obsessed with news, then lives solitary life, then goes on killing rampage

I remember reading a short story about a married couple where a man was always obsessed with the news (I think it was on the radio) until his wife was so exasperated with him she nagged him and drove ...
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57 views

Trying to find a creepy children’s book I read in elementary school

When I was in elementary school (from 2013-2018), I read a picture book I saw on the classroom shelves. It was a short picture book where a black cat would walk through an abandoned castle/manor of ...
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34 views

Man is in jail for murder, gets killed by victims family

Ok I think this was a short story I read, but it may have been a novel or even a tv show or movie. There is a man in jail for murder and a lady is there asking him to write in a journal or something ...
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0answers
149 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 ...
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1answer
58 views

What does “burned the station brand into our walking sticks” mean?

This is an excerpt (no origin given) from an ACT test: Every thousand feet, we came to a small station constructed of tin and cement, barely able to block the wind. At each one, we noted the roof ...
4
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1answer
68 views

What does “hearing a story was the last stroke of the hoe” mean?

A quote from "Fitting the Ground to Plant" by Joseph Bruchac, collected in Rooted in Rock: New Adirondack Writing, 1975-2000, edited by Jim Gould: Thirty years after that day when my ...
2
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1answer
95 views

Meaning and historical reference in “Ind Aff”

In Fay Weldon's short story "Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo" I found the following passage: “The Hungro-Austrarian Empire,” said Peter to me, “didn't so much collapse as fail to exist ...
2
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1answer
64 views

When did Tagore write “The Victory”?

The anthology The Definitive Tagore (Rupa Publishing, 2017) contains several works, including five short stories. The book does not contain any information on the author, nor dates of publication or ...
1
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1answer
51 views

Meaning of a sentence in “Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo”

In Fay Weldon's short story "Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo" I found the following passage: We went to a restaurant for lunch, since it was too wet to do what we loved to do: that is, ...
6
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1answer
61 views

Does the Order of Melchizedek's professed goal to bring the Vatican Council to the masses refer to a historical reality?

In Nick Joaquin's story or novella "The Order of Melchizedek", Guia, the main character's younger sister, has become a member of a religious organisation that is referred to as the Order of ...
3
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0answers
19 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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1answer
59 views

What does cuatro cantos refer to?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", Pete Henson tells Bobby, the story's main character, that "Joey Perez and some fellows went joyriding and dog-hunting and they caught a ...
2
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1answer
47 views

What does ‘Kung mapatay di madeadball ’ mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", the 17-year-old Bobby starts behaving rather strangely. After going "stowaway" and being brought back home, he wakes up the next ...

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