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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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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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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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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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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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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Game by Donald Barthelme

In Game by Donald Barthelme we have the theme of isolation, hostility, trust, freedom, paralysis, doubt and connection. Taken from his Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that Barthelme may be exploring the theme of isolation. Shotwell is not prepared […]

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The School by Donald Barthelme

In The School by Donald Barthelme we have the theme of uncertainty, innocence, mortality, fear, curiosity and reassurance. Taken from his Amateurs collection the story is narrated in the first person by a teacher called Edgar and after reading the story the reader realises that Barthelme may be exploring the theme of uncertainty and curiosity. Throughout the story Edgar remains […]

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A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme

In A City of Churches by Donald Barthelme we have the theme of acceptance, conformity, reliance, religion, paralysis and independence. Taken from his Sadness collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Barthelme may be exploring the theme of acceptance and conformity. None of the characters […]

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Goodbye, My Brother by John Cheever

In Goodbye, My Brother by John Cheever we have the theme of paralysis, separation, letting go, change, acceptance and denial. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a thirty something year old man (whose surname is Pommeroy) and after reading the story the reader realises that he may not be a reliable narrator. Throughout the […]

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Separating by John Updike

In Separating by John Updike we have the theme of struggle, confusion, conflict, acceptance and separation. Taken from his The Early 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 Updike may be exploring not only the theme of separation but the theme of conflict […]

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The First Seven Years by Bernard Malamud

In The First Seven Years by Bernard Malamud we have the theme of desire, love, insecurity, conflict, independence, appearance and change. 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 desire and insecurity. Feld […]

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A & P by John Updike

In A & P by John Updike we have the theme of desire, change, conformity, rebellion, liberation and consumerism. Taken from his The Early Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by a young nineteen year old boy called Sammy and after reading the story the reader realises that Updike may be exploring the theme of desire. Though […]

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A Worn Path by Eudora Welty

In A Worn Path by Eudora Welty we have the theme of struggle, sacrifice, determination, perseverance, selflessness and love. Taken from her A Curtain of Green 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 Welty may be using the setting of the story to explore […]

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A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell

In A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell we have the theme of connection, inequality, independence, control and oppression. Taken from her collection of the same name the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Glaspell may be exploring the theme of connection. On several occasions […]

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman we have the theme of control, freedom and powerlessness. Taken from her collection of the same name the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed female narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Gilman may be exploring the theme of control. Throughout the story the narrator appears to be under […]

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Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald we have the theme of identity, acceptance, popularity, betrayal, jealousy and rejection. Taken from his The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Fitzgerald may be exploring the theme of […]

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The Horse Dealer’s Daughter by D.H. Lawrence

In The Horse Dealer’s Daughter by D.H. Lawrence we have the theme of doubt, reliance, connection, desperation, escape and security. Taken from his Selected Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Lawrence may be, at the beginning of the story, exploring the theme of […]

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Spin by Tim O’Brien

Spin - Tim O'Brien

In Spin by Tim O’Brien we have the theme of conflict, memories, acceptance and letting go. Taken from his The Things They Carried collection the story is narrated in the first person by O’Brien (the character) and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that O’Brien (the writer) is exploring the theme of memories. The reader learns about two incidents that […]

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Love by Tim O’Brien

In Love by Tim O’Brien we have the theme of guilt, connection, longing, appearance, trust and letting go. Taken from his The Things They Carried collection the story is narrated in the first person by O’Brien (the character) and from the beginning of the story the reader realises that O’Brien (the writer) may be exploring one of the main themes […]

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The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien we have the theme of escape, conflict, guilt, acceptance and responsibility. Taken from his collection of the same name the story is narrated in the third person and after first reading the story the reader becomes aware of the significance of the title of the story. O’Brien (throughout the story) lists all […]

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The Lottery by 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 very early on in the story (the second paragraph) the reader realises that Jackson is using foreshadowing. The stones that the young boys are collecting and […]

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The Enormous Radio by 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 succeeding in drawing the reader further into the story, right to the end, […]

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