The Sisters – James Joyce

The Sisters – James Joyce
In The Sisters by James Joyce we have the theme of paralysis, freedom and corruption. Taken from his Dubliners collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed young boy. Very early on in the story (first paragraph) the reader realises that Joyce is exploring one of the major themes in the story, the idea of corruption. The narrator tells the reader that the word paralysis had always sounded strange ... Continue reading

Categories: Dubliners

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
In The Lottery by Shirley Jackson we have the theme of acceptance, family and tradition. Set in a small village in New England the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and has a suspenseful mood. Very early on (the second paragraph) the reader becomes aware that Jackson is using a foreshadowing device within the story. The stones that the young boys are collecting and placing in a pile, though ... Continue reading

Categories: Random Stories

The Enormous Radio – John Cheever

The Enormous Radio – John Cheever
In The Enormous Radio by John Cheever we have the theme of privacy, secrecy, obsession, doubt, change and control. Set in an apartment building in 1940s New York the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed, omniscient narrator and has a suspenseful mood. Cheever succeeds in drawing the reader further into the story, right to the end, till it reaches a climax. It is also noticeable that Cheever is using symbolism ... Continue reading

Categories: Random Stories

Elephant – Raymond Carver

Elephant – Raymond Carver
In Elephant by Raymond Carver we have the theme of dependency, security, struggle, acceptance and letting go. Taken from his Elephant and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and begins with the reader learning how the narrator ended up supporting his brother, Billy. Immediately the reader realises that Billy is dependent on the narrator, he has asked the narrator for ... Continue reading


Errand – Raymond Carver

Errand – Raymond Carver
In the short story Errand by Raymond Carver we have the theme of dissimilarity, respect, denial and grief. Taken from his Elephant and Other Stories collection the story is narrated (in the main) by an unnamed third person narrator and begins with Chekov having dinner with his friend Alexei Suvorin. Immediately the reader notices the differences or dissimilarity between Chekov and Suvorin. Politically and temperamentally ... Continue reading


Intimacy – Raymond Carver

Intimacy – Raymond Carver
In the short story Intimacy by Raymond Carver we have the theme of memory,  struggle, letting go and closure. Taken from his Elephant and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and though the reader never learns the name of the narrator, very early on in the story we discover that he is a fiction writer and he is visiting his ex-wife who is also unnamed. What is interesting ... Continue reading


Boxes – Raymond Carver

Boxes – Raymond Carver
In the short story Boxes by Raymond Carver we have the theme of connection (or disconnection), worry, powerlessness and mortality. Taken from his Elephant and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and tells the story of the narrator’s mother moving back to California from Longview, Washington. The name Longview is important because Carver may be highlighting to the ... Continue reading


A Clean, Well-Lighted Place – Ernest Hemingway

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place – Ernest Hemingway
In A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of loneliness, despair, connection and nihilism. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person and is set in a café in Spain. The story begins with the reader being introduced to the three main characters. There is the old man who is sitting drinking brandy in the cafe (alone). He has already attempted ... Continue reading


Hills Like White Elephants – Ernest Hemingway

Hills Like White Elephants – Ernest Hemingway
In Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of communication and conflict. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unknown narrator and is set at a train station in Spain. The setting of the story is important because it acts as symbolism for where both protagonists are in life. They are at a crossroads, unsure of which direction ... Continue reading


Up in Michigan – Ernest Hemingway

Up in Michigan – Ernest Hemingway
In Up in Michigan by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of obsession, innocence and disillusion. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the reader being introduced to the two main protagonists, Jim Gilmore and Liz Coates. What is noticeable, very early on in the story (first two or three paragraphs), is the gender roles (stereotypical) that both ... Continue reading


The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber – Ernest Hemingway

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber – Ernest Hemingway
In The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of fear, cowardice, emancipation and coming of age. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person and is divided into three sections. In the first section the reader is introduced to the three main characters, Francis Macomber, his wife Margot and a veteran safari guide called Robert Wilson. ... Continue reading


The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway

The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway
In The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of regret, conflict and death. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person and is divided into six present time sections with five flashbacks (or interior monologues). The use of flashbacks is important because it is through them that the reader realises that the main protagonist, Harry, has lived a ... Continue reading


Judgement Day – Flannery O’Connor

Judgement Day – Flannery O’Connor
In Judgement Day by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of connection, salvation and pride. Taken from her Everything That Rises Must Converge collection the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist, T.C. Tanner sitting in the living room of his daughter’s apartment in New York. He has had a stroke and through the use of flashbacks in the story the reader learns that the stroke ... Continue reading


Parker’s Back – Flannery O’Connor

Parker’s Back – Flannery O’Connor
In Parker’s Back by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of change and grace. Taken from her Everything That Rises Must Converge collection the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the reader being introduced to the main protagonist, a man called O.E Parker and his wife Sarah Ruth. Parker lives with Sarah in a rented shack and very early on the reader becomes aware that Parker regrets marrying ... Continue reading


Revelation – Flannery O’Connor

Revelation – Flannery O’Connor
In Revelation by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of Grace. Taken from her Everything That Rises Must Converge collection the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist, Mrs Turpin looking for a seat in a doctor’s waiting room. Her husband Claud has what Mrs Turpin believes is an ulcer on his leg and she wants a doctor to have a look at it. The setting for the story is important ... Continue reading


The Lame Shall Enter First – Flannery O’Connor

The Lame Shall Enter First – Flannery O’Connor
In The Lame Shall Enter First by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of faith and connection. Taken from Everything That Rises Must Converge the story is narrated in the third person and tells the tale of a man called Sheppard and his efforts to try and redeem a young juvenile delinquent called Rufus Johnson. The story is divided into two parts and in the first section it begins with Sheppard sitting in his kitchen ... Continue reading


The Comforts of Home – Flannery O’Connor

The Comforts of Home – Flannery O’Connor
In The Comforts of Home by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of charity, judgement and arrogance. Taken from Everything That Rises Must Converge the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist, Thomas looking out the window of his bedroom at his mother returning home with a young girl called Sarah Ham (or Star Drake). O’Connor’s description of Thomas looking out the window ‘Thomas ... Continue reading


The Enduring Chill – Flannery O’Connor

The Enduring Chill – Flannery O’Connor
In The Enduring Chill by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of grace, self-pity, connection and failure. Taken from Everything That Rises Must Converge,  the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist Asbury Fox getting off a train in his home town of Timberboro. Asbury, believing that he is dying, has returned home to his mothers farm and O’Connor uses the symbolism of the sky ... Continue reading


A View of the Woods – Flannery O’Connor

A View of the Woods – Flannery O’Connor
In A View of the Woods by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of control, identity and conflict. Taken from her Everything That Rises Must Converge collection the story is narrated in the third person and deals with the relationship between a grandfather (Mark Fortune) and his youngest grandchild (Mary Fortune Pitts). Fortune lives with his daughter, her husband (Pitts) and their seven children on land that he owns ... Continue reading


Greenleaf – Flannery O’Connor

Greenleaf – Flannery O’Connor
In the Flannery O’Connor short story Greenleaf we have the theme of faith, grace and control. Taken from her Everything That Rises Must Converge collection, the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist Mrs May waking in the middle of the night and seeing a bull tearing at her hedge. O’Connor’s description of the bull ‘with a hedge-wreath that he had ripped loose for himself ... Continue reading


Everything That Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor

Everything That Rises Must Converge – Flannery O’Connor
In the Flannery O’Connor short story, Everything That Rises Must Converge, we have the theme of identity, appearance and racism. Set in the early 1960s the story is narrated in the third person and begins with the main protagonist Julian, waiting for his mother, Mrs Chestny, to get ready for her weight class in the local Y. Immediately O’Connor delves into the theme of appearance with Mrs Chestny unsure if she should ... Continue reading


The Displaced Person – Flannery O’Connor

The Displaced Person – Flannery O’Connor
In The Displaced Person by Flannery O’Connor we have the theme of displacement, social order and racism. Taken from A Good Man is Hard to Find the story is set on Mrs McIntyre’s farm and is split into three different sections. The first section deals with the arrival of Mr Guizac and his family from Poland to Mrs McIntyre’s farm as seen through the eyes of Mrs Shortley. While the second and third section, seen ... Continue reading