The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

In The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde we have the theme of dedication, compassion, generosity, struggle, appearance, sacrifice, selflessness and corruption. 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 Wilde may be exploring the theme of sacrifice and compassion. […]

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A Humble Drama by Guy de Maupassant

In A Humble Drama by Guy de Maupassant we have the theme of escape, connection, loneliness, paralysis, desperation and hope. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader senses very early on in the story that de Maupassant is exploring the theme of escape. The narrator recalls how he feels when he sees someone that he might […]

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Next Door by Kurt Vonnegut

In Next Door by Kurt Vonnegut we have the theme of conflict, image, guilt, innocence and coming of age. Taken from his Welcome to the Monkey House collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Vonnegut may be exploring the theme of conflict. Paul’s […]

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Thank You Ma’am by Langston Hughes

In Thank You Ma’am by Langston Hughes we have the theme of kindness, dignity, trust, forgiveness and choice. Narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Hughes may be exploring the theme of kindness. Mrs Jones rather than looking for vengeance against Roger helps him to understand life a little better […]

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A Chip of Glass Ruby by Nadine Gordimer

In A Chip of Glass Ruby by Nadine Gordimer we have the theme of sacrifice, prejudice, selfishness, justice, commitment and apartheid. Set in South Africa the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Gordimer may be exploring the theme of sacrifice. Mrs Bamjee throughout the story is […]

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A Telephone Call by Dorothy Parker

In A Telephone Call by Dorothy Parker we have the theme of desperation, insecurity, uncertainty, independence, paralysis, control, dependency, reliance, change and identity. Taken from her Complete Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman and from the beginning of the the story the reader realises that Parker may be exploring the theme of desperation. By […]

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Village People by Bessie Head

In Village People by Bessie Head we have the theme of poverty, conflict, kindness, struggle, acceptance, desperation and connection. Taken from her Tales of Tenderness and Power collection the story is narrated by several different narrators and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Head may be exploring the theme of poverty and acceptance. It is obvious that the […]

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The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

In The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant we have the theme of materialism, insecurity, discontent, happiness, sacrifice, selflessness, desperation and humility. 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 de Maupassant may be exploring the theme of materialism. Mme […]

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The Confession by Guy de Maupassant

In The Confession by Guy de Maupassant we have the theme of commitment, regret, guilt, jealousy, loss, grief, forgiveness and acceptance. Taken from his The Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that de Maupassant may be exploring the theme of commitment. For over […]

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Certain Winds from the South by Ama Ata Aidoo

In Certain Winds from the South by Ama Ata Aidoo we have the theme of struggle, hardship, strength, unity, silence, choice, resilience and perseverance. Taken from her No Sweetness and Other Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person though for the majority of the story it is a conversational piece. What is also interesting about the narrative style […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

In The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe we have the theme of guilt, paralysis, madness, paranoia and identity. Set in the 1840s the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Poe may be exploring the theme of guilt. The narrator after he kills the old man […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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