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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3 votes
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"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 ...
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What do the letters G and D mean in "The Trout" by Sean O'Faolain?

In the story "The Trout", there are two letters that I want to know what they mean. One of the first places Julia always ran to when they arrived in G--- was The Dark Walk. It is a laurel ...
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5 votes
1 answer
164 views

Story about two brothers playing *gulli-danda*

I remember reading a story in 5th or 6th grade about two brothers where one was jealous of the other. The elder brother had polio in one of his legs and when they were playing gulli-danda, the younger ...
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4 votes
1 answer
97 views

Meaning of "Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years"

In the story Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck there is this sentence He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o'clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up ...
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2 votes
0 answers
20 views

What happened to Mohini?

In Premchand's short story "The Desired Destination" (first published in 1911, available here in its original Urdu), the narrator is in love with a girl named Mohini and opens by saying that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
150 views

Antagonist in Jim Baker's Blue Jay Yarn

Who or what is the antagonist in Baker's Blue Jay Yarn (What Stumped the Blue jays)?
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1 vote
1 answer
74 views

Meaning of "seemed of their own will" and "man were whole"

In the short story "The Enemy" by Pearl S. Buck, there are two phrases that I'm not quite certain whether I have correctly understood. Here are the short passages which contain the phrases: ...
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2 votes
0 answers
55 views

What do roses stand for in "The Nightingale and the Rose" by Oscar Wilde?

There are 3 times roses appear in the garden "The Nightingale and the Rose" by Oscar Wilde: White rose: Marriage / chastity / young love / loyalty Yellow rose: Betrayal / sadness / doubt ...
4 votes
0 answers
53 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
101 views

"Even though he was a Sikh, he had no liking for sports."

In the short story "Sorrow's Reward" by Premchand (originally published in Urdu as "Sila-e Maatam"), the protagonist abandons all thought of his promised wife Kumudini and mourns ...
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2 votes
0 answers
27 views

What is the significance of the tale narrated by Nadir to the muezzin Marwan in the short story 'Time, as It Evaporates…'?

In the French science fiction short story "Le temps, en s'évaporant…" by Jean-Claude Dunyach, translated into English by Jean-Louis Trudel as "Time, as It Evaporates…", there is a ...
3 votes
0 answers
68 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-...
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7 votes
1 answer
641 views

Why has this Premchand story been translated as both "Catastrophe" and "A Positive Change"?

There is a Premchand short story whose original Hindi title is "Vidhwans"; it's been translated into English as "Catastrophe", as seen here, but the same story has also been ...
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2 votes
1 answer
482 views

Meaning of "take trains like the Twentieth Century"

In the short story 'The Third Level' By Jack Finney, there is a sentence given as such: I turned into Grand Central from Vanderbilt Avenue, and went down the steps to the first level, where you take ...
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4 votes
1 answer
282 views

What is meant by "descent of their last end"?

What does "the descent of their last end" mean in James Joyce's The Dead? His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
473 views

Short story about a young boy living in South Africa during Apartheid [duplicate]

I believe I read this story in my AP Literature textbook, but can't recall the name. It's about a young boy living in South Africa during Apartheid who is ironically killed by the fence surrounding ...
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3 votes
0 answers
36 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 ...
5 votes
0 answers
51 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-...
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2 votes
2 answers
63 views

What's the meaning of "narrow" in "a narrow pretty greyhound of a woman"?

The following is a sentence from The Tunnel, or The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham. Rebecca sees the wife around Cambridge, a narrow pretty greyhound of a woman, with a face that is at once ...
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2 votes
2 answers
3k views

What does "nada y pues nada" mean in Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?

I am not looking for a direct translation, but rather how this passage fits into the story as a whole. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to understand “a dumb or a talking brute” in The Ransom of Red Chief?

But I glanced at Bill, and hesitated. He had the most appealing look in his eyes I ever saw on the face of a dumb or a talking brute. The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry The word “brute” has several ...
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4 votes
1 answer
274 views

What did it mean for Pandit Udaybhan Pandey to own the entire village?

In Catastrophe by Munshi Pramchand, the main character (a woman named Bhungi) "lived in Pandit's village... [who] had the full authority to make her do any sort of odd job." He was described ...
2 votes
1 answer
292 views

Why was Bhungi poor in spite of having an apparently thriving business?

In Catastrophe by Munshi Premchand, a woman owned a parching oven. Apparently, business was quite good: "The village folk have one meal a day of parched grain, so there was always a crowd around ...
3 votes
2 answers
127 views

Why was 50 considered old in Premchand's day?

The main character of the Catastrophe short story (in the collection Short Stories by Munshi Premchand) was descried as "an old, childless widow" who "didn't own either a scrap of land ...
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Short story where aliens provide choice of escape from Earth to all species. All leave except for dogs, which remain with behind with humans

Short story where aliens provide a choice of escape from Earth to all the species. All leave except for dogs, which remain with behind with humans.
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5 votes
0 answers
58 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
166 views

Explain the plot of Georgette Heyer’s ‘Linckes’ Great Case’

Georgette Heyer is best known for her Regency romances, but early in her career: Georgette decided to try her hand at detective fiction. In March 1923 ‘Linckes’ Great Case’ appeared in The Detective ...
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is "the Saar" in The Last Lesson?

In The Last Lesson, written by Alphonse Daudet, there is this paragraph: My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry ...
1 vote
1 answer
55 views

Meaning of "drew the lower jaw in" from "To Build A Fire"

In the story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, there is a line which I find too complex to interpret. After some manipulation he managed to get the bunch between the heels of his mittened ...
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5 votes
1 answer
96 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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
76 views

Role of religious belief in Flannery O'Connor's fiction?

According to the Wikipedia article about Flannery O'Connor, [h]er writing reflected her Roman Catholic faith and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. The article's section about the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
101 views

Was the title of "O Russet Witch!" a quotation from somewhere?

Fitzgerald's story "'O Russet Witch!'" appears in his collection Tales of the Jazz Age. The quotation marks are part of the story's title; it's the only story in the collection to sport this ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Roald Dahl's short story called "Nunc Dimittis"?

Roald Dahl wrote a short story called "Nunc Dimittis" (though Wikipedia states that it was first published in 1953 as "The Devious Bachelor"). The story is described here on ...
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3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Meaning of "She impressed me neither favorably nor the reverse."

I'm reading "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" by Arthur Conan Doyle. I came across this sentence by the character Violet Hunter: Mrs. Rucastle seemed to me to be colorless in mind as ...
5 votes
1 answer
152 views

Short animal stories book identification

I remember reading a book about 20 years ago, containing lots of short stories (each one being only a couple of pages long). The stories were not connected to each other at all. Each story have a ...
7 votes
0 answers
57 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
90 views

Trying to find a story called "The Curse of the Phantom Rolls Royce"

As a child (at 12 or 13, ~55 years ago) I read a story called "The Curse of the Phantom Rolls Royce" and I loved it. It wasn’t a big book so I think it was a stand alone story. I certainly ...
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3 votes
2 answers
64 views

Meaning of "You never came and you never went" in Eudora Welty's "A Visit of Charity"

I can't understand what the sentence "You never came and you never went" is related to. Does it clarify the previous utterance or is it a new thought which says that the person has never ...
2 votes
1 answer
196 views

Short story about a wealthy man bringing his new wife to his childhood home, from when he was poor, which is in the mountains/wilderness

I'm looking for a short story that I think I listened to as an audiobook, in a collection with other stories, in the early 2000s, checked out from a library in Ashland, KY. I was reminded of this when ...
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4 votes
1 answer
516 views

Short story about secret spy betrayed at a secret party, boss got stuck in trap while looking for files

I think I read it five or six years ago from a collection of novels written by one writer. A man is a spy in a secret illegal organization, one day he took part in a secret party, but he had been ...
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5 votes
0 answers
105 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
88 views

Is Von Bork's "I've been there" the idiomatic expression here, in "His Last Bow"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from His Last Bow by Conan Doyle. “.. It was on my first arrival. I was invited to a week-end gathering at the country house of a cabinet minister. The conversation ...
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6 votes
1 answer
3k views

What does "more than I gave" mean in "I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from The Three Gables by Conan Doyle. .. but naturally I was interested in what he said. I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave. Here I’m not ...
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4 votes
0 answers
89 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 ...
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a detective and criminal who disguise themselves and interact while in pursuit

I read a short story around 1996 in the US. I think it was part of a 5th grade reader book (kind of a compilation of short stories at the appropriate reading level). I remember thinking the story was ...
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2 votes
1 answer
120 views

What is the correct translation of the title "Les Fourmis" by Boris Vian?

The literal translation of "les fourmis" is "the ants". It is one of the titles under which the story was published in English (for example, the translation by Rawdon Corbett). The ...
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4 votes
1 answer
132 views

What is the meaning of cleaning the samovar in "To Be Held for Reference" by Rudyard Kipling?

From "To Be Held for Reference" by Rudyard Kipling: “All things considered, I doubt whether you are the luckier. I do not refer to your extremely limited classical attainments, or your ...
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4 votes
1 answer
157 views

What's the title of the short story about wife accidentally eating all of her husband's food so she cooked "something" instead?

I am not actually sure if this is a story I have watched, or read, or both. Certainly I have watched it as I have pictures on my mind. Anyway, the plot is: The wife is (I guess) abused by her husband. ...
31 votes
4 answers
11k views

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

The first three sentences of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi are as follows: One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. I've always wondered about this. This ...
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3 votes
0 answers
58 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", ...

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