A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather

In A Wagner Matinee by Willa Cather we have the theme of hardship, struggle, isolation, loss, gratitude and connection. Taken from her The Troll Garden collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young man called Clark and after reading the story the reader realises that Cather may be exploring the theme of hardship. Throughout the story […]

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The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry

In The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry we have the theme of freedom, determination, class, change and hope. Set at the turn of the Twentieth Century the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Henry may be exploring the theme of freedom. Throughout the story […]

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Boxes by Raymond Carver

In Boxes by Raymond Carver we have the theme of connection, worry, powerlessness, mortality and apprehension. 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 setting of the story may also be important particularly the name […]

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Dreams by Raymond Carver

In Dreams by Raymond Carver we have the theme of identity, ignorance, awareness, paralysis, love and loss. Taken from his Call If You Need Me collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and it may be significant that the narrator is unnamed as Carver may be playing on the idea of identity. It may also be important that Mary Rice […]

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Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding by Katherine Mansfield

In Frau Brechenmacher Attends a Wedding by Katherine Mansfield we have the theme of gender roles, domination, submission, control, struggle, identity and tradition. Taken from her In a German Pension collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Mansfield may be exploring the theme of control. Throughout […]

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Pictures by Katherine Mansfield

In Pictures by Katherine Mansfield we have the theme of paralysis, desperation, dedication, determination, rejection and escape. Taken from her Bliss and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Mansfield may be using the setting of the story to explore the theme of […]

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The Prison by Bernard Malamud

In The Prison by Bernard Malamud we have the theme of freedom, regret, connection, helplessness, control, escape, paralysis and hope. Taken from his The Complete Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Malamud may be exploring the theme of freedom. Throughout the story there […]

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Vandals by Raymond Carver

In Vandals by Raymond Carver we have the theme of friendship, loyalty, responsibility, acceptance, letting go and paralysis. Taken from his Call If You Need Me collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Carver may be exploring the theme or idea of friendship, what friendship may mean and what constitutes a […]

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Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway

In Indian Camp by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of innocence, brutality, mortality, control (or dominance) and connection. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Hemingway may be exploring the theme of innocence. Throughout the story there is a […]

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Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway

In Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of fear, connection, experience, isolation, simplicity, faith and conformity. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Hemingway may be exploring the theme of conformity. In the […]

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The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

In The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry we have the theme of poverty, frustration, connection, struggle, love, sacrifice, anxiety and commitment. Set in New York at the turn of the twentieth century the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Henry may be […]

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Kindling by Raymond Carver

In Kindling by Raymond Carver we have the theme of alcoholism, belief, revival, discovery, recovery and change. Taken from his Call If You Need Me collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and some readers may recognize the main character Myers from two other Carver short stories (Put Yourself in My Shoes and The Compartment). If Carver is indeed referencing […]

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Adventure by Sherwood Anderson

In Adventure by Sherwood Anderson we have the theme of aspirations, innocence, loneliness, isolation, letting go, paralysis and connection. Taken from his Winesburg, Ohio collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises how symbolically important Anderson’s physical description of Alice is. By describing Alice’s head as being […]

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Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway

In Cat in the Rain by Ernest Hemingway we have the theme of discontent, struggle, selfishness, helplessness, loneliness, conflict and insecurity. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and one of the most interesting things about the story is how Hemingway shifts from calling the wife, the […]

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He by Katherine Anne Porter

In He by Katherine Anne Porter we have the theme of appearance, struggle, guilt, resentment and denial. Taken from her Flowering Judas and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Porter may be exploring the theme of appearance. At the beginning of the […]

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Reunion by John Cheever

In Reunion by John Cheever we have the theme of disappointment, connection, identity, separation, regret and alcoholism. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young man called Charlie and after reading the story the reader realises that Cheever may be exploring the theme of disappointment. Throughout the story Charlie at no stage […]

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Rope by Katherine Anne Porter

In Rope by Katherine Anne Porter we have the theme of insecurity, love, resentment, connection, commitment, struggle and paralysis. Taken from her Flowering Judas and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Porter may be exploring the theme of struggle. Throughout the story […]

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Everyday Use by Alice Walker

In Everyday Use by Alice Walker we have the theme of heritage, tradition, honesty, selfishness, identity and appearance. Taken from her In Love & Trouble collection the story is narrated in the first person by a woman called Mrs Johnson and after reading the story the reader realises that Walker may be exploring the theme of heritage. Throughout the story […]

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The Last Leaf by O. Henry

In The Last Leaf by O. Henry we have the theme of commitment, sacrifice, friendship, compassion, hope and dedication. Set in the first decade of the twentieth century the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Henry may be exploring the theme of commitment. Throughout the story […]

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Sunday Afternoon by Alice Munro

In Sunday Afternoon by Alice Munro we have the theme of class, innocence, acceptance, appearance, desire and hope. Taken from her Dance of the Happy Shades collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Munro may be exploring the theme of class. Throughout the story there […]

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Call If You Need Me by Raymond Carver

In Call If You Need Me by Raymond Carver we have the theme of separation, infidelity, connection, trust, acceptance, letting go and moving on. Taken from his collection of the same name the story is narrated in the first person by a middle aged man called Dan and very early on the reader realises that Dan’s marriage to Nancy is in trouble with both […]

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Careful by Raymond Carver

In Careful by Raymond Carver we have the theme of change, dependency, alcoholism, moving on, disaffection, communication and paralysis. Taken from his Cathedral collection, the story tells of a man called Lloyd who has recently separated from his wife Inez. Lloyd is now living in the attic room of Mrs Matthews’ house and very early on the reader finds that Lloyd has […]

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Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver

In Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver we have the theme of identity, control, disaffection, denial, escape, paralysis and alcoholism. Taken from his Cathedral collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed man who is a resident in Frank Martin’s drying out facility. There are several story’s being told within the story (frame narrative) which in some […]

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Regret by Kate Chopin

In Regret by Kate Chopin we have the theme of loss, loneliness, detachment, commitment, love, independence and responsibility. Taken from her A Night in Acadie collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Chopin may be exploring the theme of loss or at least the sense […]

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A Dill Pickle by Katherine Mansfield

In A Dill Pickle by Katherine Mansfield we have the theme of strength, control, self-centeredness, love, selfishness and empowerment. Taken from her Bliss and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises just how self-centered the male protagonist is. Rather than focusing on Vera he throughout the […]

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