Paul’s Case by Willa Cather

In Paul’s Case by Willa Cather we have the theme of hostility, respect, freedom, escape, corruption, determination and commitment. Taken from her The Troll Garden collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Cather may be exploring the theme of hostility. Paul’s attitude towards […]

Read more

The Village Saint by Bessie Head

In The Village Saint by Bessie Head we have the theme of control, image, secrecy, power, selfishness and materialism. Taken from her The Collector of Treasures collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Head may be exploring the theme of control.  Mma-Mompati is in control […]

Read more

Heaven is not Closed by Bessie Head

In Heaven is not Closed by Bessie Head we have the theme of faith, acceptance, fear, power, alienation, ignorance, love, tradition and contentment. Taken from her The Collector of Treasures collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Head may be exploring the theme […]

Read more

The Pheasant by Raymond Carver

In The Pheasant by Raymond Carver we have the theme of paralysis, connection, struggle, conflict, identity, change and control. Taken from his Fires 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 of paralysis. There is a sense that both characters […]

Read more

Snapshots of a Wedding by Bessie Head

In Snapshots of a Wedding by Bessie Head we have the theme of marriage, arrogance, responsibility, tradition, status, ego and love. Taken from her The Collector of Treasures collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Head may be exploring the theme of marriage and the reasons […]

Read more

The Guilty Party by O. Henry

In The Guilty Party by O. Henry we have the theme of responsibility, selfishness, betrayal, love, sacrifice and redemption. Set in the late nineteenth century the story is narrated in the third person though Henry does briefly shift to the first person (Lizzie) near the end of the story. It may also be important that Henry on three separate occasions […]

Read more

Next Door by Tobias Wolff

In Next Door by Tobias Wolff we have the theme of fear, conflict, violence, peace and harmony. Taken from his In The Garden of The North American Martyrs and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Wolff may be exploring the […]

Read more

The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce

In The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce we have the theme of isolation, loneliness, hope, grief, failure and guilt. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the setting of the story the reader realises that Bierce may be exploring the theme of isolation. Murlock is […]

Read more

The Drunkard by Frank O’Connor

In The Drunkard by Frank O’Connor we have the theme of apprehension, fear, pride, gossip, control, temptation, curiosity, helplessness, alcoholism and trust. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young boy called Larry Delaney and after reading the story the reader realises that O’Connor may be exploring the theme of apprehension […]

Read more

First Confession by Frank O’Connor

In First Confession by Frank O’Connor we have the theme of conflict, appearance, division, connection, fear, innocence and honesty. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is a memory piece and is narrated in the first person by a man called Jackie. What is interesting about the beginning of the story is that O’Connor may be exploring the theme […]

Read more

The Man of the House by Frank O’Connor

In The Man of the House by Frank O’Connor we have the theme of innocence, temptation, guilt, responsibility, control, resilience, redemption and acceptance. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a man called Gus Sullivan who is looking back at an incident in his life when he was ten years old. It is […]

Read more

A Summer’s Reading by Bernard Malamud

In A Summer’s Reading by Bernard Malamud we have the theme of appearance, change, loneliness, escape, fear, paralysis, compassion 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 Malamud may be exploring the theme of appearance. George likes the […]

Read more

Oil of Dog by Ambrose Bierce

In Oil of Dog by Ambrose Bierce we have the theme of greed, corruption, responsibility, unity and isolation. Taken from his The Complete Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a man called Boffer Bings and after reading the story the reader realises that Bierce may be exploring the theme of greed and corruption. Both […]

Read more

Why I Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty

In Why I Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty we have the theme of jealousy, conflict, independence, escape, isolation and honesty. Taken from her A Curtain of Green and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young unnamed woman and from the beginning of the story Welty appears to be exploring the theme of […]

Read more

I Bought a Little City by Donald Barthelme

In I Bought a Little City by Donald Barthelme we have the theme of aspiration, independence, freedom, control and reality. Taken from his Amateurs collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Barthelme may be exploring the theme of control. Throughout the story there is a sense […]

Read more

The Lie by Raymond Carver

In The Lie by Raymond Carver we have the theme of conflict, confusion, uncertainty, honesty, trust and control. Taken from his Fires collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed male narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Carver may be exploring the theme of conflict. There is a sense that […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more
1 2