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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4
votes
1answer
116 views

What does Dupin mean about a seal formed of bread?

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Purloined Letter", a minister known only as D-- has a letter which he is keeping for the purposes of blackmail, and the police prefect G-- comes to Dupin for help ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Were there really such camps in India as attempts to prevent overpopulation?

Content warning: the story, and this question, concern implied mutilation. In R. K. Narayan's short story "The Edge", which I read as part of his 1982 collection Malgudi Days, the knife sharpener ...
4
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1answer
86 views

What does “in the way of business” mean in “The Oracle of the Dog” by G. K. Chesterton?

In "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton, the daughter of a murdered rich colonel was talking about her husband, a nobleman and skilled surgeon, who wanted to challenge the secretary to a duel, ...
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 ...
4
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1answer
51 views

Was the Ayah paid partly in clothes, and was this standard practice?

In R. K. Narayan's short story "A Willing Slave" (which I read as part of his 1982 collection Malgudi Days), the old lady known simply as "the Ayah" takes care of many responsibilities, but her main ...
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 ...
4
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0answers
474 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
votes
1answer
303 views

When were the short stories of Malgudi Days published?

Malgudi Days is a short story collection by R. K. Narayan. According to Wikipedia: Malgudi Days is a collection of short stories by R. K. Narayan published in 1943 by Indian Thought Publications. ...
2
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1answer
34 views

What is the meaning of the word “incident” in “She brought colour and incident into my life”?

This sentence is part of a paragraph of a book titled The Almost Perfect Murder by Hulbert Footner. Here is the complete paragraph (emphasis mine): My employer, Madame Storey, who knows everybody ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Why does Rajam Iyer lie about the bully at the end of “Fellow-Feeling”?

The 5-page short story "Fellow-Feeling" in R. K. Narayan's short story collection Malgudi Days (which I've been reading online is about a few travellers on a train in India. Rajam Iyer, the ...
12
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4answers
3k views

What does it mean for a person to be “up” themselves?

I've just come across the short story "Do You Love Me?" by Peter Carey via a story-ID over at SFF. The basic premise of the story is that when something isn't loved, it disappears. Upon reading ...
3
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2answers
217 views

Meaning of “spelt backwards” in “The Oracle of the Dog”

The story "The Oracle of the Dog" by G. K. Chesterton begins like this: “YES,” said Father Brown, “I always like a dog, so long as he isn’t spelt backwards.” What is meant by "so long as he isn’t ...
10
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2answers
746 views

Is Narayan really quoting a traditional proverb, and from which Indian language/culture?

In the story "Fellow-Feeling" from R. K. Narayan's short story collection Malgudi Days (which I've been reading online), a proverb is mentioned in passing: Rajam Iyer leaned back in his seat, ...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

What does this passage mean about third-class passengers in the Madras-Bangalore Express?

The following quote is from the story "Fellow-Feeling" in R. K. Narayan's short story collection Malgudi Days (I've been reading it online, and this story is only 5 pages long). Emphasis ...
5
votes
1answer
449 views

Is there any general significance to 20 May in Hinduism, or was it just personally auspicious?

In R. K. Narayan's short story "The Missing Mail", from the 1943 collection Malgudi Days, which I've been reading online, the resident Ramanujam is desperately trying to arrange a marriage for his ...
2
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0answers
52 views

Short fiction in which the suits of playing cards (clubs, diamonds, spades, hearts) are used in place of some words

I remember reading such a story, maybe in the New Yorker or The Atlantic, in the 1990s or early 2000s. There were hearts and diamonds and clubs and spades throughout the story (printed the same size ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Short story in which notorious safe-cracker retires but has to use old tools to save girl's life

I remember reading a short story, many years ago, about a notorious safe-cracker in the old west, who managed to accrue a nice fortune by utilizing his skills. I cannot remember the title or author, ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

“That’s because you’ve already made your wish.” What does it mean?

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. In the frame story, ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Mystery short story where the owner of a dog is accidentally murdered via strychnine

I solved this one in the process of asking the question, so I'm self-answering. I remember it as being part of an Alfred Hitchcock anthology. The protagonists get pulled into investigating the ...
1
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0answers
66 views

What is the inner meaning of “A Common Confusion”?

"A Common Confusion" is a very short story by Franz Kafka, only three paragraphs long with an English translation available in full online: A common experience, resulting in a common ...
1
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0answers
39 views

Possible Jerome Salinger short book about hockey player and his girlfriend

I'm looking for a short book about hockey player and his girlfriend. I think it is by Jerome Salinger. I've already read 50% of his books, which I can find on public. Only story about this crazy ...
2
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0answers
111 views

Who is the second narrator character 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. Much of it is written ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Young Horror Anthology - Short story with devices passed into a hole in a wall, returned powered by worms…?

I remember reading short story when I was young (in the 80s) where the protagonist passed a series of objects though a discovered portal (in their room?) and they were returned powered by - or ...
2
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1answer
89 views

What is the term used for a story's narrator becoming self-aware?

I was reading a short-story titled "A Face in the Dark" by Ruskin Bond. There's this passage in it: "It had no eyes, ears, nose or mouth. It was just a round smooth head — with a ...
3
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0answers
84 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 ...
4
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1answer
65 views

What is the children's Ark?

But the central object in the whole of this chamber of horrors was the engine known as the Iron Virgin, which stood near the centre of the room. It was a rudely-shaped figure of a woman, ...
1
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1answer
32 views

Meaning of 'bar a scrap' in “Squaw” by Bram Stoker

"Wall!" he said, "I guess I've not had enjoyment like this since I left Noo York. Bar a scrap with a French sailor at Wapping-an' that warn't much of a picnic neither-I've not had a show fur ...
8
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1answer
126 views

What does “minds her helium like a lady” mean in “The Terrible Voyage of the Toad”?

I have the following passage from 'The Terrible Voyage of the Toad' (1878) by Edward Page Mitchell: "Without intendin' to disperidge," continued the deacon, "her bottom's more putty'n timber." ...
2
votes
1answer
189 views

In “The Rattrap” why does the peddler sign as captain and how does it help to get free of the rattrap?

"The Rattrap" by Selma Lagelöf (short story) tells about a story of a rattrap seller, who thinks the world as a rattrap. It's a fun story, but what I fail to understand is why, at the end of the ...
5
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0answers
76 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 ...
1
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0answers
41 views

Story ID: U.S. soldier mistaken for football star in Japan

An acquaintance is trying to find a short story she read some years ago (I am sorry she could not identify how far). She thinks she read it in Reader's Digest, or in a collection of stories from it. ...
1
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2answers
187 views

meaning of 'dash about'

"That is a very dreadful story," said the Padre. "Very," said I, "and there are some rather odd points about it. Did commercial travellers dash about in motorcars when Popper ...
4
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3answers
164 views

Looking for an old sci-fi tale about time-traveling

I can not remember the author, but this seems was Ray Bradbury. However, I've already read couple of his short stories, which would be matched by titles, and found nothing. It's probably not Ray ...
1
vote
1answer
601 views

Conclusion of 'The Trial for Murder' by Charles Dickens

What does the last quote of the short story 'The Trial for Murder' mean? Why did the 'Murderer' says [...] Before I was taken, he somehow got to my bedside in the night, woke me, and put a rope ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

What is the meaning of “decorator” and “got up in”?

The following text is an excerpt from "Wifey Redux" by Kevin Barry: I sighed and left the den. The way it worked, Ellie had the use of the sitting room down back of the ground floor; no teenager ...
3
votes
1answer
64 views

How to understand “ eight million quids’ worth of dental work”

The following sentence is taken from Wifey Redux by Kevin Barry: "He was seventeen, six two, with blonde, floppy hair, and about eight million quids’ worth of dental work." How to understand the ...
3
votes
2answers
104 views

How to understand the title “Wifey Redux”

"Wifey Redux" is a short story by Kevin Barry and I am at a loss as to what the author meant by that title. Literally, it means Wifey Brought Back, but there is no indication in the story which ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Why did he die in “Philomel Cottage”?

"Philomel Cottage" is a short story by Agatha Christie which was recently identified as the answer to a story-ID question on our site. After seeing it there, I read the story in full - it's only 10 ...
2
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1answer
58 views

What is the Distracted Preacher never anxious to do in this long sentence?

In Hardy's The Distracted Preacher, the first page has this really long sentence: But when those of the inhabitants who styled themselves of his connection became acquainted with him, they were ...
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.
1
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2answers
69 views

How to understand the meaning of “ Columbine types” and “sniper material”?

The following is an excerpt from Wifey Redux by Kevin Barry: "He wasn’t her usual type, so immediately I was worried. The usual type – so far as it had been established – was black-clad, pale-...
4
votes
1answer
107 views

Short story where a king uses a tiger to punish the accused

This story was a part of a collection that I read quite some time ago. Here are the details: Language: English Year: Unknown; but I read it sometime in the early 2000s (likely 2002-03). What I ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Short story identification: Color of the Taj Mahal, mother says “Death rides a fast horse behind me”

In grade school in the 1970s, I read a short story I would like to find again. I think it was assigned reading, a school book (reader) that one of the schools used. It may also have been in an old ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

How to understand “made a picture” and “dates can work out”?

The following sentence is an excerpt from "Wifey Redux" by Kevin Barry: And we made a picture – I was a gorgeous kid myself. A Matt Dillon-type, people used to say, which dates me. But your dates ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Is it true that short stories “must” end without definite conclusions?

In my native subcontinental literature, there is a notion that one of the identifying features of short stories is, it must end without a conclusion. The reader is left guessing. That is, the reader ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Has “The Duel” by Joseph Conrad been published in any recent story collections?

I'm a fan of the Ridley Scott film The Duellists (1977) which is based on the story "The Duel" by Joseph Conrad. I would like to read the original story, but whenever I search for paperback ...

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