Questions tagged [short-stories]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Why would the subject of fingerprints make everybody lose their common sense?

In "The Case of the White Footprints" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book (1923) by R. Austin Freeman, Dr. Jervis said to his friend that the chief officer found fingerprints in the crime scene ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Was it common to publish the times of voyages in the newspapers?

In "The Case of the White Footprints" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book (1923) by R. Austin Freeman, a woman was talking to a detective about a situation in her hotel, saying: "I noticed ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

What does “on his dignity with” mean in “The Case of the White Footprints”?

In "The Case of the White Footprints" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, a woman was talking to a detective about a situation in her hotel, saying: Mr. Bergson wasn't drunk, ...
3
votes
0answers
32 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
79 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
487 views

What does “at all” mean in “The Vampire of the Village”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking about an old parson and his son, saying: ‘I mean,’ said Father Brown, ‘that the son still speaks of his father ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

What does “follow him even in thought” mean in “The Vampire of the Village”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing Father Brown while visiting some persons, saying: The conversation of Miss Carstairs-Carew, on whom he called ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

Why would Marlow have “abused the old church at home for not being a cathedral”?

In Youth: A Narrative, Joseph Conrad writes: “We had fair breezes, smooth water right into the tropics, and the old Judea lumbered along in the sunshine. When she went eight knots everything cracked ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

What is “a conical flame with a twisted top” in Youth: A Narrative

In the below passage sourced from Joseph Conrad's Youth: A Narrative, Conrad describes a "conical flame with a twisted top". What exactly is it? Of course they very soon found out in the ...
4
votes
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
72 views

What's meant by “It would be almost irregular, if the clergyman’s son were quite regular”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, Dr. Mulborough was talking to Father Brown about a Great Scandal in their village, while they were going to a village by a train, saying: ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What is “the poem” that the spider refers to in Philip Dick's short story “Expendable”?

In the short story "Expendable" by Philip K. Dick, the protagonist is a man who can communicate with spiders. At one point, after fighting off a home invasion by an army of ants, the ...
5
votes
0answers
46 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What's meant here by "[the heresies] are actually unconscious?

In "The Crime of The Communist" by G. K. Chesterton, there is a conversation between many persons about the communism: ‘Well, you’re all very down on Communism, of course,’ said the Master, ...
4
votes
1answer
193 views

In Connie Willis' short story “Ado”, what is Morticians International's objection to the use of the word 'casket' in *The Merchant of Venice*?

Connie Willis' "Ado" is a short story in which language is censored to an absurd degree so as to not offend anyone. The protagonist is a school teacher who decides to cover Shakespeare, but ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

What's meant here by “over the cosier chambers of Humanism …”?

In "The Crime of The Communist" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing three men and the surrounding architecture of Mandeville College, saying: They themselves, in a curious quiet ...
4
votes
2answers
374 views

Does “entertain about” mean “distract about” or “entertain because”?

In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking to his friend about a murder that happened in the hotel lounge after a very serious altercation between two men because of ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

What's meant here by “Don't mention it”?

In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking to his friend, saying: Didn’t you see how that old man, with the heart of a lion, stood up and forgave his enemy as only ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Do clergymen usually use spades?

In "The Quick One" in The Scandal of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing two strange men entered a hotel with beach, saying: Two quaintly assorted figures did, ...
5
votes
2answers
106 views

Does the title of “Marquis” change the name of its holder?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" in The Secret of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, the main character was named James Mair, and his cousin was named Maurice Mair; the author said that after ...
5
votes
2answers
181 views

What's meant here by “ his serving as second proves very little about what he thought of the quarrel”?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Outram was talking to Father Brown about an old duel between Mr. James Mair, whose second was Mr. Outram himself, and his cousin ...
7
votes
2answers
408 views

Meaning of “the humility of a charge” in “The Chief Mourner of Marne”?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Mallow went to Father Brown to consult him about very serious problem, but he found him sitting on the floor with a serious ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

“The Gift of the Magi” Literary Analysis: Symbolism and Time

In O. Henry's short story The Gift of the Magi, Della's hair is likened to a "brown waterfall." Why is that symbolism significant? I've been wracking my brain, and I was thinking it maybe ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

For Maupassant, were women more inclined to imitate others than men?

In Maupassant's short story "Le Signe" / "The Signal", part of the collection Le Horla (1887), the baroness de Grangerie tells her friend the marchioness de Rennedon how a woman of ill repute had ...
4
votes
1answer
104 views

Meaning of “private gentleman” in “The Worst Crime in the World”?

In "The Worst Crime in the World" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown and his friend, a lawyer, was talking to a rich old man who has lived alone in a castle for a long time, and who has just ...
2
votes
0answers
24 views

How did contemporary female readers respond to the sexual violence in the Contes de la Bécasse?

In Maupassant's short story That Pig of a Morin / Ce cochon de Morin, the narrator, Labarbe, says to a woman he finds very attractive (emphasis mine), Parce que vous êtes une des plus belles ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Short story about humans that portrays them as savages

I am searching for a short story that my 7th grade social studies teacher told me many years ago, and that I have never forgotten. Below is what I remember from the text. I recall it being written ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Who are “we” in “The Worst Crime in the World”?

In "The Worst Crime in the World" by G. K. Chesterton, a lawyer was talking to Father Brown: “I must apologize for everything I said about the Captain,” he said to the priest as they drifted ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Who is “the man in Dickens” in “The Worst Crime in the World”?

In "The Worst Crime in the World" by G. K. Chesterton, a solicitor was talking to Father Brown about Captain Musgrave whose old father was living in an old castle: “This young Musgrave,” he ...
7
votes
2answers
744 views

Meaning of “interrupted spirals, inverted cones and broken cylinders” in “The Worst Crime in the World”?

In "The Worst Crime in the World" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was saying in its beginning: FATHER BROWN was wandering through a picture gallery with an expression that suggested that he had ...
3
votes
2answers
263 views

Relationship between title and protagonist's fate in Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits

I went through Tolstoy's story God Sees the Truth, But Waits but I wonder what the title suggests and how it suits the story in regard to the protagonist Aksionov. A good innocent man is wrongly ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

How can he be “so shabbily dressed” and “must have been a millionaire”?

In "The Song of the Flying Fish" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a group of neighbours, a collector, a priest, a biologist, a bank manager and a traveller, that usually got together in ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Does “think” mean “think about” or “think by” in “The Secret of Father Brown”?

In "The Secret of Father Brown" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was saying that he prefers studying the murder from inside not outside: I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside ...
4
votes
2answers
110 views

Meaning of “ethical fellowship” in “The Secret of Father Brown”?

In "The Secret of Father Brown" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown said: If you try to talk about a truth that’s merely moral, people always think it’s merely metaphorical. A real live man with two ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

What is the meaning of this sentence by H.G. Wells about a “liberal heathen deity”?

It's from "The Empire of Ants" by H.G. Wells. Here is the paragraph it's in: Captain Gerilleau, who was Holroyd's sole distraction from these physical distresses, developed into a formidable bore,...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

What connects “dripping with gore” and Buddhism & Christianity in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was explaining some philosophical aspects of the murderer, saying: It was his whole game with me to be as idealistic as possible; and ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

What is the purpose of all the gustatory imagery (food imagery) in “The Shawl” by Cynthia Ozick?

Anyone who has read the novella The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick might have noticed it is rich with gustatory imagery. In the first part of the novella, food imagery (i.e. lack of food) illustrates hunger ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

What's meant by “all things return” in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr Aylmer was talking to Father Brown, trying to convince him by mesmerism Don’t you feel in your heart that these contradictions do not really ...
4
votes
2answers
96 views

What's meant by “in the symbol of windows and of doors” in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a situation where Father Brown was sitting in a central room with a staircase leading up from it on one side and a door ...
7
votes
1answer
581 views

What is “negative” and “positive whiteness” in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing the falling of snow,that appeared through a barely opened door, saying: What he had seen shining through the crack was not ...
5
votes
2answers
265 views

What does it mean to “unmoor criticism”?

The introduction by Pol Neveux to the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant (the edition that's on Project Gutenberg - I couldn't pin down its exact details) says the following about the article ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Which short stories are falsely attributed to Guy de Maupassant, and why?

Thanks to @GarethRees's sleuthing and editing, I just learned that several French short stories found in the Project Gutenberg version of the "Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories" are in fact not ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Why are only some characters in Petrushevskaya's Hygiene given names?

HYGIENE, By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, in There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, published this fall by Penguin. Translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen ...
2
votes
0answers
65 views

Political backdrop to “The Lancer's Wife” (Franco-Prussian War)?

"La Uhlane" is a short story by Jean Richepin, whose English translation "The Lancer's Wife" was erroneously attributed to Guy de Maupassant in the Walter Dunne edition of Maupassant's works. It ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

What would Mr Aylmer resent in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown went to someone, Mr Aylmer, who was asking for protection against another one who wants to kill him, but the priest wasn't sure ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

What political leanings are being described for Monsieur Carre-Lamadon?

I've just begun reading the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant, starting with one of his most famous, "Boule de Suif" (variously translated as "Dumpling", "Butterball", etc.) In an early ...
1
vote
2answers
182 views

Why both “noticed” and “thought noticeable” in “The Oracle of the Dog”?

In "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking about someone, saying: "To be found with a weapon, let alone a blood-stained weapon, would be fatal in the search that was ...
4
votes
1answer
100 views

Meaning of “vision of the world’s desire” in “The Oracle of the Dog”

(Spoilers for the solution to "The Oracle of the Dog".) In "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking about Brown said (emphasis added), It is the megalomania of the ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

What does “after something had really happened” mean in this G. K. Chesterton story?

In "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was talking about a secretary of a murdered colonel, who was very active and always doing everybody’s work, saying (emphasis added): "It ...

1 2
3
4 5
9