The Destructors by Graham Greene

In The Destructors by Graham Greene we have the theme of control, pride, power, acceptance, change, jealousy and insecurity. Set in the 1950s the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Greene may be exploring the theme of control. When Blackie loses leadership of the gang and […]

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Five-Twenty by Patrick White

In Five-Twenty by Patrick White we have the theme of confidence, freedom, guilt, identity, control, isolation and escape. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator it becomes clear to the reader after reading the story that White may be exploring the theme of confidence. Ella lacks any sort of confidence. Her life appears to be revolved around every […]

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An Englishman’s Home by Evelyn Waugh

In An Englishman’s Home by Evelyn Waugh we have the theme of identity, class, connection, control and pride. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator it becomes clear to the reader from the beginning of the story that Waugh may be exploring the theme of identity. Metcalfe though he is new to the village considers himself to be […]

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Georgia Hall by Maeve Binchy

In Georgia Hall by Maeve Binchy we have the theme of jealousy, insecurity, confidence, pride, fear, selflessness and image. Taken from her A Few of the Girls collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young woman called Margaret (Moggie) and after reading the story the reader realises that Binchy may be exploring the theme of jealousy. […]

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Journey by Patricia Grace

In Journey by Patricia Grace we have the theme of change, powerlessness, frustration, responsibility and acceptance. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Grace may be exploring the theme of change. The old man can remember travelling into the city by steam train. Also when he is on the train […]

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Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

In Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy we have the theme of wisdom, knowledge, awareness, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Tolstoy may be exploring the theme of wisdom. The King longs to know the answer to three questions which will help enlighten him. He is […]

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The Taste of Watermelon by Borden Deal

In The Taste of Watermelon by Borden Deal we have the theme of guilt, connection, acceptance, honesty and bravery. The story itself is a memory piece and is narrated through the eyes of a sixteen year old boy and after reading the story it becomes clear to the reader that Deal may be exploring the theme of guilt. Though the […]

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Two Kinds by Amy Tan

In Two Kinds by Amy Tan we have the theme of hope, identity, rebellion, responsibility, blame, independence and acceptance. Narrated in the first person by a woman called Jing-mei Woo the story is a memory piece and after reading the story the reader realises that Tan may be exploring the theme of hope. Jing-mei’s mother has hopes for her daughter. […]

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My Greatest Ambition by Morris Lurie

In My Greatest Ambition by Morris Lurie we have the theme of hope, aspiration, disappointment, rejection and disillusion. Narrated in the first person by a man called Lurie (assumed to be the author) the story is a memory piece and the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Lurie may be exploring the theme of hope and aspiration. […]

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The Rain Horse by Ted Hughes

In The Rain Horse by Ted Hughes we have the theme of disappointment, connection, struggle, control, fear and change. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Hughes may be exploring the theme of disappointment. The protagonist on reaching his destination looks around and is disappointed by what he […]

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There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

In There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury we have the theme of suffering, dependency, empathy and nature. Taken from his The Martian Chronicles collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Bradbury may be exploring the theme of suffering. It is left to the […]

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The Taste of Metal by John Updike

In The Taste of Metal by John Updike we have the theme of infidelity, control, dominance, loneliness and selfishness. Taken from his The Early Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Updike may be exploring the theme of infidelity. Not only has Eleanor’s husband […]

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The Stoat by John McGahern

In The Stoat by John McGahern we have the theme of selfishness, fear, responsibility, rejection and honesty. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that McGahern may be exploring the theme of selfishness. The protagonist’s father on hearing that Miss McCabe has had a heart attack decides to abandon any notions […]

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Where Love Is, God Is by Leo Tolstoy

In Where Love Is, God Is by Leo Tolstoy we have the theme of grief, doubt, struggle, hope, growth, contentment and connection. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Tolstoy may be exploring the theme of grief. Martin has lived a difficult life with his wife and children […]

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Too Dear! by Leo Tolstoy

In Too Dear! by Leo Tolstoy we have the theme of governance, justice, morality and power. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Tolstoy may be exploring the theme of governance. Every time that the King encounters a problem with the prisoner he calls upon his Council of State. Who […]

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The Phoenix by Sylvia Townsend Warner

In The Phoenix by Sylvia Townsend Warner we have the theme of greed, conflict, cruelty, sensationalism, responsibility and control. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Warner may be exploring the theme of greed. Poldero’s main function is to make money. When he purchases the phoenix he sees that he […]

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At Hiruharama by Penelope Fitzgerald

In At Hiruharama by Penelope Fitzgerald we have the theme of prosperity, aspirations, struggle, love and contentment. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Fitzgerald may be exploring the theme of prosperity. Both Tanner and Kitty (Tanner’s wife) have started out fresh in life after they have gotten married and […]

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Journey by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim

In Journey by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim we have the theme of responsibility, powerlessness, coming of age, tradition, fear and innocence. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Lim may be exploring the theme of responsibility. The unnamed female protagonist is responsible for getting her mother’s medication. Though she has to […]

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Sandpiper by Ahdaf Soueif

In Sandpiper by Ahdaf Soueif we have the theme of loneliness, separation, paralysis, identity, isolation, control, connection, helplessness and loss. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman the reader realises after reading the story that Soueif may be exploring the theme of loneliness. There is a sense that the narrator is lonely. She participates in none of the […]

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The Bath by Janet Frame

In The Bath by Janet Frame we have the theme of loneliness, control, reliance, loss, struggle, mortality and connection. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Frame may be exploring the theme of loneliness. The old woman throughout the story is alone. When she gets stuck in the bath despite […]

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Death of a Son by Njabulo Ndebele

In Death of a Son by Njabulo Ndebele we have the theme of grief, resilience, loss, doubt, acceptance, responsibility and renewal. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman (mother) the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Ndebele may be exploring the theme of grief. The narrator and her husband Buntu have yet to grieve the […]

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The Fly in the Ointment by V.S. Pritchett

In The Fly in the Ointment by V.S. Pritchett we have the theme of greed, trust, corruption, loyalty, selfishness, discontent and identity. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Pritchett may be exploring the theme of greed. Harold’s father tells his son that he no longer wishes to have or […]

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The Lemon Orchard by Alex la Guma

In The Lemon Orchard by Alex la Guma we have the theme of racism, discrimination, hierarchy and injustice. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that la Guma may be exploring the theme of racism and discrimination. The coloured man who is described by his captor’s as being a ‘hotnot’ (coloured […]

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How it Happened by Arthur Conan Doyle

In How it Happened by Arthur Conan Doyle we have the theme of impulse, arrogance, control, class, loyalty and spiritualism. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises from the beginning of the story that the narrator is driven by impulse. There is a sense that though he knows it might be better for Perkins to […]

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Secrets by Bernard MacLaverty

In Secrets by Bernard MacLaverty we have the theme of curiosity, letting go, guilt, love, innocence and forgiveness. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that MacLaverty may be exploring the theme of curiosity. Though the boy (doing his ‘A’ levels) knows that he is not allowed to read his Aunt’s […]

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