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Short Story Essays (Examples)

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Portrayal of Women in Society by Steinbeck and Thurber
Words: 1745 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 82948621
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Women in Society
John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” and James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” tell two very different stories about two very different people—but both share one thing in common, which is each conveys a sense of what women in society are like. Steinbeck’s short story is naturally more sympathetic and empathetic, as the main character of the story is a woman, who is aching for affection and tempted to stray from her husband by a deceitful wanderer. James Thurber’s short story focuses mainly on a bored married man, who disappears into daydreams while awaiting orders from his wife. This paper will compare and contrast the portrayal of women in society by Steinbeck and Thurber and show how an aching disconnect exists between women and their men.
In “Walter Mitty,” Mrs. Mitty is depicted as somewhat of a boring old nag, constantly chiding her husband for his seeming…

Thanksgiving in Mongolia by Ariel Levy
Words: 677 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 41205644
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Analysis of “Thanks Giving in Mongolia” by Ariel Levy
The writer opens up the short story by reminiscing over the other trips and journeys she had made in other parts of the world. The bliss of the adventures while she wrote notes and the details of the journeys were her central points. She comes out as one who loves to celebrate and appreciate any little thing she had. She then goes on to focus on the main point of the story which was her trip in Mongolia during thanks giving. It started well, good arrival and reception, happy commencement of her coverage of the story on mining and the economy of Mongolia. However, things changes and she started developing discomforts. These discomforts from her pregnant condition ended up occasioning her miscarriage of the baby. She did not want to believe that the fetus would not survive and held onto the…

O'Connor Baldwin and Alexie Reflection
Words: 1097 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 76805803
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Reflection Paper
The readings I enjoyed the most were James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” and Sherman Alexie’s “The Reservation Cab Driver.” Each of these readings was different. The Baldwin and O’Connor readings were short stories and the Alexie reading was a poem—but I felt like each one spoke to me in a meaningful way, and that is why I liked them best. “Sonny’s Blues” made me think about the special connection that brothers have even when they do not understand each other very well. I was happy to read this story as it concluded with an empathetic scene in which the narrator finally begins to understand Sonny and sympathize with him. O’Connor’s short story was different in that it really troubled me—and I could not get it out of my mind. I often found myself thinking about the characters, the mother and Julian and…

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Reflection
Words: 1452 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 77645448
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After reading the short story, “Everyday Use”, one can get the impression that educational backgrounds can affect the way an individual will grow up. The narrator’s education did not go far because in second grade, because her school closed. Therefore, she grew up working instead of learning to be able to take care of herself and her children. On the other hand, her daughter, Dee, grew up with education and went on to college. Because of their different backgrounds of education, their relationship with each other is not as close and the relationship between the narrator and Maggie. Dee seems to look down on her mother and sister because they did not have as much education as she does. The narrator said “She would read to us with pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in…

Kate Chopin Short Stories Kate
Words: 1742 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 95734892
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Mallard locks herself in her room and looks to nature for consolation, a situation that seems to dissolve the tension that she was subjected to, and Mrs. Sommers goes on a shopping and fun spree that ends up in the movie theatre. Finally at the end of the three stories there seems to be a successfully resolved situation for the tension that was, Calixta seems at peace with the family and she even does not quarrel the husband as was the norm (and the husband expected it), Mrs. Mallard though dies, she dies a happy woman of 'the joy that kills' and Mrs. Sommers seems satisfied with her day out where she had maximum fun and bought all she wanted (Jennifer Heeden, 2011).


Esther Lombardi, (2011). 'The Storm' - Short Story. Kate Chopin's Famous Short Story - Classic

Text. etrieved December 30, 2011 from

Jennifer Heeden, (2011). A…


Esther Lombardi, (2011). 'The Storm' - Short Story. Kate Chopin's Famous Short Story - Classic

Text. Retrieved December 30, 2011 from 

Jennifer Heeden, (2011). A Woman Who Is a Person. Retrieved December 30, 2011 from,Pate, McBride, Barnardo.htm

Joanna Bartee, (2011). The Storm: More Than Just a Story. Retrieved December 30, 2011 from

Irony in Two Short Stories
Words: 1177 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 48802790
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She also learns, too late, that the jewels and the life she coveted so long ago was a sham. Hence, the symbolic nature of the necklace itself -- although it appears to have great value, it is in fact only real in appearance, not in reality and the heroine is incapable of assessing the false necklace's true worth.

The tale of "The Necklace" conveys the moral that what is real, the replacement she returned to Madame Forstier, can be won not with beauty but with hard work, sweat, and toil. Like "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Necklace" revolves around the use of irony and a single, symbolic element, exemplified in the title object that works throughout the tale, using the literary device of irony, to reveal the protagonist's moral character. That final revelation engineered by the title object makes the story compelling, even if both protagonists may seem morally repugnant. The…

Works Cited de Maupassant, Guy. "The Necklace." Classic Short Stories. 28 Jun 2008.  de Maupassant, Guy. "A Piece of String." Classic Short Stories. 28 Jun 2008. 

Poe, Edgar Allen. "The Tell-Tale Heart." The Online Literature Library.

28 Jun 2008.

Illusion in Melville's Short Stories
Words: 486 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 1161286
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Just like the letters, and just like Bartleby, everyone dies. The time that is spent living is spent completing meaningless tasks. This is what the narrator realizes at the novel's end, when he says "Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!" The final message is that society as a whole needs to find real meaning, and not continue to exist based on illusions of what is important.

In Billy Bud, illusion is used in a different way. Billy Bud is the main character who lives based on illusion because of his naivety. This naivety means that he is not able to see situations as they really are. For this reason, the evil Claggart is able to constantly manipulate him. This leads to Billy's downfall, and ultimately, his death. Much like Bartleby, the final message is that you cannot live based on illusion. Instead, you have to see the reality in situations. The major…

Narrative Structure Common to Short Stories of
Words: 1213 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Thesis Paper #: 95377444
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narrative structure common to short stories of the past cannot be found in modern examples of the literary form, and that in short "nothing happens" in modern short stories. hen one examines the modern short story on its own terms, however, exploring the text for what it contains and extracting meaning and action from the words on the page (and the words not on the page), rather than trying to read modern short stories according to the frameworks and preconceptions of the past, it becomes clear that this stance simply doesn't hold water. hile it might be true that a direct narrative structure is less present in modern short stories than in examples from the past, it is far from true that nothing happens in the modern short story. An examination of two canonized and gripping short stories, illiam Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and Andre Dubus' "Killings," reveal that…

Works Cited

Dubus, Andre. "Killings." In Selected Stories 2nd Ed. New York: Vintage: 1996, pp. 47-


Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." Accessed 18 October 2011.

Critic of Ernest J Gaines Short Stories Called Bloodlines
Words: 662 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 45015387
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Bloodline collection of five short stories, Bloodline depicts the struggles of day-to-day African-American life in the South. With unique literary devices and keen emotional insight, Author Ernest J. Gaines uses the first person perspective in each tale to make the narratives exceptionally poignant and to bring the characters alive. In fact, two of the tales are told from the perspective of young boys, Gaines captures their innocence and their unwitting exposure to racism deftly in "A Long Day in November," and "The Sky is Gray," "Three Men" depicts the black experience of the American criminal justice system, revealing its faults through symbolism and powerful imagery of life on the inside. "Bloodline" illustrates how Southern blacks fared after the demise of plantation culture in the post-Civil War south. Finally, "Just like a Tree" switches points-of-view, as Gaines portrays blacks as they are viewed in the eyes of the white man. These…

Colonial and Post Colonial Short Stories in
Words: 884 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 31211102
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Colonial and Post Colonial Short Stories

In the 19th and 20th centuries, much of the world was divided and compartmentalized. Empire nations colonized lands all over the world creating cultures which were based upon differentiation and racial inequality. In a colonized nation, the population would be comprised of the colonizers who were the ethnic and racial power and the colonized that would be considered ethnically inferior. In the short stories "Going to Exile" by author Liam O'Flaherty and "The Day They Burnt the Books" by Jean Rhys, the authors relate brief narratives which reflect the racial prejudices and conflicts that were bubbling beneath, and often times above, the surface of colonized countries.

In colonial literature, one of the dilemmas that come up most often is the question of identity. People who are colonized are forced to create for themselves a dual identity. At one they have their innate cultures, but…

Works Cited:

O'Flaherty, Liam. "Going into Exile." Ed. Baldwin, Dean R., and Patrick J. Quinn. An Anthology

of Colonial and Postcolonial Short Fiction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. 283-291.


Rhys, Jean. "The Day They Burnt the Books." Ed. Baldwin, Dean R., and Patrick J. Quinn. An Anthology of Colonial and Postcolonial Short Fiction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. 452-457. Print.

Essay About Short Stories
Words: 1041 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 77938529
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Lucy's Home For Girls aised By Wolves

The short story as a literary form has the power to convey ideas as complex and nuanced as longer-form fiction. As King (2007) notes, short stories often struggle to find an audience, despite being on the surface easier to digest. Their length makes them perfect for brief reading, but the audience seems constantly dwindling. Yet the short story medium has precisely the power to articulate everyday issues in meaningful ways, something seen in Karen ussell's St. Lucy's Home for Girls aised by Wolves, for example.

Minus (2009), in reviewing an anthology of short stories, supports King's idea that there are still some excellent short story writers in America, if they are a dying breed. Short stories should have a fairly high energy level, moving quickly through their narrative, as compact as it is, in order to convey ideas. This should be a pinnacle…


Brown, J. (1997). Ethnicity and the American Short Story. Wellesley College.

King, S. (2007). What ails the short story. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved April 17, 2016 from /2007/09/30/books/review/King2-t.html

Minus, E. (2009). Competent, fair, good, better, best. Sewanee Review. Vol. 117 (2)

Russell, K. (2009) St. Lucy's home for girls raised by wolves. Retrieved April 17, 2016 from

Female Freedom in the 19th Century: Two Short Stories
The short story entitled the “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman both approach the subject of female sanity and wellness from different angles. Both stories suggest that society and those closest to the woman have really no idea about the inner life of the female, nor what is best for her mental health and overall well being. The incorrect assumptions of those around them are precisely what contribute to the ultimate tragedies and unraveling of mental states present within each story.
Chopin’s famous “Story of an Hour” demonstrates the ill-conceived presumption that so many of the era project on to the heart and mind of a woman. We are told of Mrs. Mallard’s fragility in the opening of the story. As a result of this fragility, “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a…

English Literature the Short Stories
Words: 1440 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 20202774
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In this light. Dee represents the most successful fulfillment of the material side of the American Dream (Whitsitt). On the other hand, she is unsuccessful at preserving what is most beautiful about her culture by no longer honoring it in any practical sense. In this, she represents the tragedy of loss in terms of meaning, culture, and heritage in blind pursuit of material gain and social success.

The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich

The story by Louise Erdrich similarly demonstrates a dichotomy between the past, the potential of the future, and the scars that cannot be healed as a result of trauma and tragedy. The American Dream and its destruction in this story is represented by two brothers and their initially healthy relationship (boosh). As young men, Henry and Lyman are happy-go-lucky and somewhat irresponsible. Their relationship is healthy and close, represented by a red convertible that they buy restore,…


Powell, Rachel. Character Analysis and Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use. Dec 03, 2007. Associated Content. 

Sboosh Academic Article Library. Loss of Innocence in Louise Erdrich's the Red Convertible. 2008.

Walker, Kristen. Symbolism in the Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich. Jul 15, 2008. Associated Content. 

Whitsitt, Sam. In Spite of it all: A reading of Alice Walker's "Everyday Use." African-American Review, Fall, 2000. Database: FindArticles.

Edogawa Rampo's Short Stories
Words: 751 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Article Review Paper #: 58664846
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Human Chair

This short story has many provocative and erotic themes -- but is it really a story about sexual decadence or is it more about alienation?

Indeed it is almost as though he is getting sexual pleasure by hiding in that chair. But the real message is alienation; because the writer is so ugly, painfully ugly, he has to find a way to be excited without anyone seeing his face. He writes that as soon as he "buried himself" in the chair, he had the sense that he had "buried myself in a lonely grave… I realized that it was indeed a grave…I was swallowed up by complete darkness" and he "no longer existed" to the rest of the world, including the women that he desired to meet and interact with. Someone who is fond of absolute darkness while waiting for an unsuspecting person to sit on him, literally,…

Australian Literature the Short Stories
Words: 652 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 61714335
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Through the Aborigines' ritual, "bora," Wright attempts to describe in detail this tradition in the poem through imagery, while, at the same time, citing its death through the use of symbolism. Subsisting to the main theme of 'cultural death,' "Bora ring" uses implied meaning in each line of them. Examples of these are the use of "the dance is secret" and "the tribal story lost in an alien tale," lines in the poem that signify cultural death, the dissolution of the ritual in the midst of new influences from foreign settlers and/or modernization. Stanza three is illustrated as the most effective stanza in the poem: Wright's description of the Aborigines' loss from foreign influence is powerfully expressed as follows: "[t]he hunter is gone: the spear is splintered underground..." Cultural death is not the only tragedy that happens among the Aborigines, but also physical death (this may be construed as genocide),…

Two Minimalist Short Stories
Words: 1470 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 95618433
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English Literature - Introduction

Minimalism -- John Barth's Description

Minimalism certainly means using fewer words to express thoughts, plots, ideas, quotes and action, but there is more to it than that, according to John Barth. By using Henry James' mantra of "show, don't tell," Barth covers the subject very well. Barth also quotes Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote that "…undue length is…to be avoided." The short story itself is an example of minimalism, simply because it condenses the components of a novel into a much shorter space. There are writers who specialize in what Barth calls "luxuriant abundance" and in "extended analysis," which clearly is the opposite of minimalism; he mentions Guy de Maupassant and Anton Chekov as "masters of terseness" (Barth, 1986).

And because Barth uses examples of well-known writers, he certainly couldn't omit Ernest Hemingway, whose short stories were very tight and yet very expressive with fewer, well-chosen…

Works Cited

Barth, John. "A Few Words about Minimalism." The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from . 1986.

Meinke, Peter. "The Cranes." In Literature to Go. New York: Macmillan. 192-194. 2010.

Proulx, Annie. "55 Miles to the Gas Pump." In Literature to Go. New York: Macmillan

Go Lovely Rose and Other Short Stories by He Bates
Words: 614 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 45190157
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H.E. Bates

Herbert Ernest Bates - Author

Herbert Ernest Bates was born in 1905 in Northhamptonshire, England. He knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of 12. Determined to write his first novel H.E. left school at seventeen and had worked as a clerk and a journalist and been on the dole for a while by the time he was 20 years old. It was then he had his first novel published, The Two Sisters. Over the next fifteen years he was to write eight novels and more than a dozen short story collections.

In 1941 H.E. (as he was known both professionally and privately) went to war serving in the Air Force. Whilst there he compiled another set of short stories regarding "Flying Officer X, " who became quite famous for describing exploits of life in the Air Force during the Second World War. Although these…


H.E. Bates, the author - PBS web site accessed at  March 2004.

A& p and the Lesson the Short Stories
Words: 604 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 20659588
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A&P and the Lesson

The short stories A&P and The Lesson John Updike and Toni Cade Bambara explore the perceptions of young people as they stand at the threshold of adulthood. Updike's story, set in a grocery store in a small New England town, is about Sammy, a young white male cashier. Bambara's takes place in New York City outside the famous F.A.O. Schwartz Department Store, and is told from the perspective of Sylvia, a young African-American female.

A&P was published in 1961 at a time when the beliefs and values of the status quo were beginning to be questioned by the next generation. Rock n Roll was relatively new and the beat generation was a precursor to the hippie movement. The counter culture was yet to go main stream.

Briefly, Sammy is working at the cash register when three young ladies came into the store in their bathing suits.…

Perspective Used for Short Stories
Words: 708 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 39197324
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Yellow Wallpaper

The author of this report has been asked to review and write a reaction to the short story that has come to be known as The Yellow Wallpaper. The work is a short story that is about six thousand words in length. As with many short stories of this nature, the root goal and perspective that one can glean from the story really depends on how one chooses to look at it. One can take it literally word for word while others could see flavors of feminism and the like. The author of this paper will specifically look at the reliability of the narrator. Specifically, it will be assessed how reliable the narrator is. While the short story is ostensibly a first-hand account of the story to be told and thus should be reliable, there are obviously some feelings and perceptions that are colored by emotions and other…


Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. Gutenberg. N.p., 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

Barthelme's Short Stories Donald Barthelme
Words: 2582 Length: 8 Pages Document Type: Research Paper Paper #: 96089191
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This is a well planned and conceived event, invitations, limousines for transportation of guests to the hanging tree and all the necessary accoutrement's including drinks (Some of Us). It becomes ghoulish and obscene when one reflects that these people are Colby's friends! hat could he have possibly done to deserve such animosity from his own friends? One is left to dangle precariously since no answer to that question is revealed. But the narrator does point out that no one ever went too far again.

The most egregious part of the discussion occurs in contemplating whether rope or wire should be used for the hanging. One friend who has been quiet all along suddenly advocates the wire. A wire? Surely not, Colby would assuredly suffer to excess by choking and likely decapitation. His friends cannot be serious and Colby's luck at last wins him some solace as he is granted a…

Works Cited

Agresta, Michael "City of Surfaces" The Texas Observer, Mar 5, 2010 Web. 19 July 2010.


Barthelme, Donald. "A City of Churches" Web.

Barthelme, Donald. "Some of Us Have Been Threatening Our Friend Colby." Web.

Short Stories Comparison
Words: 1065 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Term Paper Paper #: 99667324
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Timothy Findley's "Stones" and Alice Munroe's "Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You." The former is a memoir, a most painful recounting of a young boy's life with his father who was indelibly altered during the course of events of orld ar II. The latter is a work of fiction detailing the relationship between a pair of sisters and their lovers. However, a more thorough analysis of these works reveals that there are commonalities in characterization and the point-of-view of the narration between these tales that is undeniable. Moreover, each details the maturation of the characters from a period which spans from early life to adulthood. As such, the similarities in the point-of-view of the narrators and the characterization of the principle people in each tale reveal that both of these coming of age stories are ultimately tragedies.

One of the primary similarities between both of these stories revolves about…

Works Cited