Questions tagged [short-stories]

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

100 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
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22
votes
0answers
429 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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0answers
647 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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0answers
216 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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0answers
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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0answers
78 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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0answers
44 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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0answers
89 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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0answers
54 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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0answers
94 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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0answers
164 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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0answers
43 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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54 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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0answers
357 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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0answers
45 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 ...
5
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0answers
33 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 ...
5
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0answers
75 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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0answers
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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0answers
78 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 ...
5
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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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52 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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0answers
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 – “...
5
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0answers
64 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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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 ...
4
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0answers
50 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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0answers
34 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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0answers
470 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
47 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
85 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
40 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
47 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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0answers
75 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 ...
4
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0answers
80 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 ...
4
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0answers
169 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 ...
4
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1answer
4k views

What is the message of Poe's “Eleonora”?

I recently read Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Eleonora", a thinly veiled self-portrait in which the protagonist falls in love with his younger cousin, who later dies and leaves him alone. He (the ...
3
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0answers
37 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
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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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
29 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
31 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 ...
3
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0answers
36 views

Is this a real Indian fairy tale about a monkey who changes colour and marries a princess?

In R. K. Narayan's short story "A Willing Slave" (which I read as part of his 1982 collection Malgudi Days), the nanny Ayah tells a story to the young girl Radha: The Ayah squatted below the cot ...
3
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0answers
83 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
403 views

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.
3
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0answers
54 views

How is the possession by “The Whalebone Parrot” related to Loretta's Native American identity?

Darcie Little Badger's short story "The Whalebone Parrot" tells the story of young Emily in the 19th century struggling with her sister Loretta's possession by what turns out to be the eponymous ...
3
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0answers
52 views

Book by eastern European author about small house toys including a dog called Floki

I vaguely remember one book from my childhood, which I would be glad to have around. I do not recall much, but I think that it was written by (possibly) Slovenian author, or Slovak. Perhaps even Czech ...
3
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0answers
57 views

Looking for the title of a folklore which was about moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess

I read this short story back in middle school during my literature class when we were studying about folklore. It was about a moon princess being jealous of her sister sun princess so much that she ...
3
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0answers
264 views

What is the significance of the title “You Should Have Seen the Mess” by Muriel Spark?

What is the significance of the title of Muriel Spark's short story "You Should Have Seen the Mess"?
3
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0answers
33 views

Antecedents for Hawthorne's Dr. Rappaccini

In the short story Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Rappaccini uses his own daughter as a subject in his great experiment, resulting in her living a life of isolation and eventually ...
3
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0answers
66 views

Story of a divided kingdom?

I have been trying to remember a short story I heard some time ago. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on the name of the story. I know very little of its origin. I'm not sure if it was ...
3
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0answers
158 views

Who or what is the narrator of “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”?

I just read Brooke Bolander's short story "Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies", which has been nominated for both Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Short Story after its publication less than a year ago (...
2
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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 ...