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Short story Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Basic Essay

Introduction This forms the beginning of your essay. It tells the examiner, or your teacher, that you understand the question and gives them an idea of the plan that you have to answer the essay. Give a very brief summary of the text or a definition, if necessary. Answer the question that was asked, without any details or explanation. These answers will become your topic sentence / points in the upcoming paragraphs. your introduction does not need to be more than five lines in length. Body This portion of the essay is an expansion of the points, or the answer, that you gave in your introduction. Each segment of the essay, hence each point, should be given its own paragraph….

Happy Endings by Margaret Atwood Analysis

Margaret Atwood’s ‘‘Happy Endings’’ first appeared in the 1983 Canadian collection, Murder in the Dark, and it was published in 1994 for American audiences in Good Bones and Simple Murders. Subtitled ‘‘Short Fiction and Prose Poems,’’ Murder in the Dark featured four types of works: autobiographical sketches, travel notes, experimental pieces addressing the nature of writing, and short pieces dealing with typical Atwood themes, notably the relationship between the sexes. ‘‘Happy Endings,’’ which is essentially a self-referential story framework, falls into the third category. In ‘‘Happy Endings,’’ Atwood fulfills this role with a challenge that she throws out to those writers who rely on the stereotypical characterization of men and women and to the reader who accepts such gender typing….

Literary Analysis and Criticism of “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Human beings have all experienced guilt, the consequence of committing a wrong, and the manipulation it has on decisions. In the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” author Edgar Allan Poe demonstrates the theme that guilt is strong and has the power to overcome conscience; he uses characterization, the conflict, and symbolism to communicate this message. The characterization of the narrator most clearly shows this theme. In addition to Poe’s use of characterization, his decision to show the struggle the narrator endures with himself reveals the causes of the narrator to succumb to his guilt. The use of symbolism throughout the novel draws attention to the narrator’s guilt and his insanity. “The Tell-Tale Heart” is told by a first-person narrator who…

“On the Sidewalk Bleeding” by Evan Hunter

In the short story “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” by Evan Hunter, we learn that the main character of the story, Andy, is struggling to remove his jacket while he lay in an alley bleeding. We also learned that it was very painful for Andy to move, let alone take off the silk jacket, but he did so anyway. The jacket he wore symbolized his belonging to a city gang called The Royals. Andy wanted to remove his jacket in his last moments because he did not want people to think of him as being just another member of The Royals; he wanted to be remembered as Andy. Andy did not want to be portrayed as simply another young teenager who…

Outline for Araby and Hills

Six elements of fiction :plot, character, setting, point of view, voice and style, and theme. “The theme of a story abstracts its meaning from the concrete details of its plot, point of view, characterization, setting, and style” “Theme is a generalization about the meaning of a story. It is more than the subject of the story… [and] is also different from the plot. …Theme comes last in a discussion of the elements of fiction because it is the consequence of all the other elements in a story. The structure and theme of a story are fused like the body and soul of a reader…. Though the summary of a writer’s theme is no substitute for the story in its entirety,…

Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver was a short story writer who was born in the Pacific Northwest. He was a textbook editor, lecturer and teacher while writing. His stories featured some of his trademarks of, alcohol, poverty, and people in real life situations. Carver was influenced to write about these trademarks through experiences he had lived and influences that were brought upon him, like alcoholism and divorce. Raymond Carver and his father were alcoholics and had both been divorced and remarried through out their lives which is why alcohol, divorce, and fading love are some of the biggest themes he incorporates in his stories. Raymond Carver also expresses puzzlement about the odd and battered condition of love in his profound themes. Specifically in…

Research Proposal

I would like to write about a famous Arabic writer, Naguib Mahfouz. His poetry and works inspire me a lot and I enjoy reading his things. My father always used to read them to me, because his poems were true. Mahfouz always talks about the issues affecting the people of Egypt: generational, historical, religious, and political. Egyptians always have something going on. With his writings, Mahfouz’s introduces the reader to Egyptian reformers and modern and traditional characters as they change. We all know that as a country Egypt constantly reforms, even at an early age, Mahfouz has been able to capture hints of revolution. Mahfouz’s novels are stories of love, ethics, moral responsibility, and crises that characterize a culture that…

Symbolism of the Journey

Symbolism is an important aspect of literary works because through it the craftsman of the work is able to communicate his views and ideas which might not be apparent from the work unless thought upon from a critical angle. Through the course of this paper, I intend to analyze and compare the symbolism in two masterpieces namely Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” and Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken”. The reason for selecting these two works of art is because they demonstrate the depth and a variety of literary elements including Style, Form and Content which would form the centerpiece of my analysis. A Worn Path, one of Eudora Welty’s masterpieces is a story of resilience, will and determination. The…

The Discontent of One’s Life

The short story, written by John Steinbeck, called “The Chrysanthemums” demonstrates an interesting theme of great magnitude. The main focus of this short story is based around the isolation and dissatisfaction of Elisa Allen’s life. From the beginning, the main character Elisa is alone. While her husband is having a business conversation with some men dressed in suits and smoking cigarettes, she is tending to her garden of chrysanthemums. Not only she is alone physically, she is also afflicted by both emotional and sexual distress. Eventually that sense of loneliness leads to the discontent of her life, until a scruffy, middle-aged man appears in a worn out caravan being pulled by a horse and a small donkey, known as a…

The Life and Motivation of Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri was born on 1967 in London, UK. Her parents were Indian-Bengalis. Lahiri grew up in Rhode Island, USA and she considers herself to be an American. Lahiri is a very educated woman with multiple degrees in English, including a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She did a two-year fellowship at Provincetown’s Fine Arts Work Center. Lahiri lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a journalist who used to be a Deputy Editor of a Latin American magazine called Time and who now is an Executive Editor for El Diario/La Prensa, New York’s largest Spanish newspaper. Lahiri and Vourvoulias-Bush have two children, Octavio and Noor (Wcislo, Katherine). Jhumpa Lahiri has written a novel, The Namesake, after her debut…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson Analysis

Shirley Jackson is a master of suspense. She starts the story The Lottery off by describing what seems to be a normal summers day in an average village. This gives the reader a false sense of security which quickly turns into a sense of horror by the end of the story. Jackson uses the elements of a short story, atmosphere, plot and characters to create a sense of horror. One of the five elements of a short story that Jackson uses to create a sense of horror is atmosphere. Jackson describes the story as taking place on a clear, warm and sunny summer day but when one first reads about the children in the story, they are not playing and…

The Use of Force Research Paper

William Carlos Williams (1883- 1963) is one of the prominent personas of American Poetry. He received his Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Academy of Arts and Letters gold medal for poetry from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1963. Despite Williams’ recognition as one of the elite poets of the twentieth century, he was also known for his writings in many other genres. Williams’ life story was a result of all his plans that didn’t fall into place. He wanted to be an athlete, a forester, something that was totally opposite from the career that he had as a pediatrician. “ I was rather pushed into medicine rather than choosing it myself. My own choice was…

Yellow Wallpaper and Narrator Unreliability

After reading many short stories I have decided that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the best example to illustrate narrator unreliability. There are many reasons why the narrator was unreliable in this story and one of them is because she lied about the way she was feeling. She would even lie to herself by saying she was getting better, however her condition was only getting worse. Although, this was her husband’s fault because he wanted the idea of getting better to get into her head. Another reason that has to be taken into account is that she is telling this story from the first person and the first person is always unreliable because everyone sees everything differently and they also depict…

Wieland Analysis

Throughout this course, we have read many selections that were directly related to Puritanism. Just as well, they have often come in the form of a captivity narrative or gothic novel. In this case, “Wieland” by Charles Brockden Brown, is written in the format of a gothic novel, and similarly seems to reject Puritan ideals. It is a gothic novel in the sense that it follows the typical storyline of a young, honorable woman having her virtue threatened. It involves many supernatural events and is also thought to be ultimately resolved by a supernatural event. Most importantly, it brings about the threat of religion. Brown aims to expose the dangers of believing to strictly in Puritanism, and furthermore any religion…

A Visit to a Fair

A fair means a periodical gathering in some open place. I had got the rare opportunity of visiting the Baliyatra Fair in Cuttack. The fair was held on the full moon day in the month of Kartika. The fair is conducted every year on the bank of the Mahanadi. Thereby we commemorate our sea-trade with other countries in past. I had been to the fair with four of my friends. On our way to Cuttack, we discussed many things about our racial past. The Sadhavas of the then Kalinga were known for their richness and caliber in trade. They set sails for Java, Sumatra, China, Ceylon (Srilanka), Borneo, Indonesia, Rangoon for trade. They exchanged their goods for jewels and gold….

Analysis “The Ormolu Clock” by Muriel Spark

“The Ormolu Clock” is a short story written by Muriel Spark, who is considered to be one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Dame Muriel is a poet, writer of fiction and literary criticism, and biographer – went on to win most of the literary awards going, was never out of print, and was at the top of her profession, internationally, for more than half a century. The story under discussion begins with the description of two hotels standing side by side and separated by a narrow path – the Hotel Stroh and the Guesthouse Lublonitsch. The first one is a disappointment for its visitors, what can’t be said about the second. The story goes on to tell…

Comparison of The Lottery and The Story of an Hour

“The Story of an Hour”, by Kate Chopin; this story was about a wife who was told that her husband had died. The wife went through many emotions but the main emotion she went through upon hearing about her husband’s death was elation. She felt free from his presence in her life, but at the same time, she also felt sadness. She did not feel sadness for her husband’s death. She felt the sadness for her happiness about his death. “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” (The Story of an Hour, by Kathy Chopin). In this excerpt the writer describes how…

James Hurst’s story “The Scarlet Ibis”

It is said that you never really appreciate something fully until it is gone. This is shown in James Hurst’s story, “The Scarlet Ibis”. This story takes place in the Deep South after World War II, and is told through the eyes of “Brother”, one of Hurst’s fictional characters. Brother tells the story of his invalid younger brother, Doodle. In “The Scarlet Ibis” normality comes with a price. Brother’s pride both helps and hurts Doodle. Brother is ashamed of Doodle’s weaknesses. He always wished for a normal brother: “it was bad enough having an invalid brother, but having one who possibly was not all there was unbearable, so I began to make plans to kill him by smothering him with…

The Awakening, The Story of an Hour and Desiree’s Baby

The Awakening: The novel was titled “The Awakening,” because the main character Edna Pontellier goes through a series of liberations that cause her to “awaken” or become aware of her The Story of an Hour: The title refers to the actual duration of the story. All the events that take place in the story can happen in the time frame of an hour. Desiree’s Baby: The title refers to one of the main characters, Armand Aubigny, not claiming his child after finding out that the child as of different race; therefore giving all ownership of the baby to the mother, Desiree. Author & Purpose Kate Chopin was born Katherine O’Flaherty on February 8, 1850, in St. Louis, Missouri to Thomas…

“The Namesake”: The Greatest Journeys

The film “Namesake” that we viewed in class depicts the story of two young newlywed Indian immigrants who moved from Calcutta, India to settle in the United States of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Initially, the story begins to pick up pace when their son Gogol & his little sister Sonia is born during the first couple of years of their parents marriage where you notice the cultural differences among the Indian and American culture. In most western countries it is acceptable for parents to allow their children to make their own decisions so that they may develop a since of responsibility and be able to adapt to new experiences, whereas in Eastern cultures parents make decisions that they feel is beneficial to…

Born worker – Raymond Run Character

Born Worker is a short story that talks about a young man his name is Jose . Jose and his cousin Arnie came from different backgrounds . Jose was born to work . one day Arnie came to Jose and told him we must work together we must open a business doing odd jobs for people but what happens that Jose does all the work and Arnie just sit around . One day they were called to clean a pool for an old man his name is Mr.clemens as usual Arnie sit and Jose does all the work .But when the old man falls into the pool and cracks his head open Jose stays with him ( even thought Arnie…

Although Gimpel Appeared to Be a Fool, He Is a Man of Wisdom

Although Gimpel appeared to be a fool, he was really a wise man. Gimpel the fool through clever characterization, underlying symbolism, and an in-depth point of view, the short story “Gimpel the Fool”, written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, clearly reinforces the age-old concept that repentance, along with good deeds, will ultimately be rewarded in time. Gimpel’s whole-hearted yet gullible characterization weaves an important pattern in the story’s meaning. “Gimpel the Fool” is a story of laughter and sadness. Gimpel was a boy that had a reputation of being a fool since his early age. People were always playing tricks at him. Although Gimpel appeared to be a fool, he was really a wise man. He showed he was a wise…

“Little Warrior” by Lucille O’Neal

Lucille O’Neal wrote “ Little Warrior”. The story is about the way Shaquille O’Neal got his name. A young single mother, strict grandparents house, and it was a racist time. A racist time was happening and Martin Luther King was killed. Giving her child a Muslim name with great meaning. Raising a child by yourself is hard to do and she gave her son the best foundations while growing up. The responsibilities and together in order to survive. Andy Greenberg wrote “ A Step Beyond Human” .The story is about Hugh Herr both Herr’s legs were amputated six inches below the knee after a rock climbing trip ended in severe frostbite. His goal to build artificial limbs that are superior…

Lather and Nothing Else (Short Story) by: Tellez

Q: What is the possible message of Tellez’s story? Explain In the short story “Lather and Nothing Else”, the possible message of the story would be how our roles determine our actions. In society today the work we do, the responsibilities we have and the work or decisions we choose to do is what would determined our actions. In the short story theres two main facts proving that our roles do determine our actions. Firstly, when Captain Torres talks about killing the revolutionaries subject proves how he once killed those specific people because of his job and that is what he is known for: “some of them we brought back dead; others are still alive. but they’ll be all dead.”…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The central idea is the author’s implied comment on the subject of the story. In The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, the central idea being told in the story is the danger of blindly following tradition because of traditions mark on society. Tradition plays a huge role in our society; it provides reason for certain actions amongst a community without really ever having a reason to do something outrageous to begin with. Jackson points out our human flaws by creating a story which seems wrong and unlawful by many people so that people could see that they take part in pointless festivities backed up by their tradition. The story has its way of getting to your head, constantly leaving one with…

The Short Story “Araby” by James Joyce

At the beginning of the short story “Araby,” by James Joyce, we are brought back to a time when the author was just a young boy living on the described to be boring and dead North Richmond Street in Dublin, Ireland. In this town, the kids would find entertainment in the use of their imagination that insisted on playing outside “till their bodies glowed.” (Pg. 1173) Even though their play brought them to remove all cares in reality and view the world in a magical way, they also were curious about the adult world. Described by James, as kids they would spy on the narrator’s uncle as he returned home from work, and most importantly Mangan’s sister fascinated them when…

To Build a Fire Summary

To build a fire; a short story written by Jack London, resides in the harsh and unforgiving environment of the Yukon Territory, Alaska. There are only two characters in this story which are a Man and a Husky dog. The man is a know it all as well as new to the Yukon trail; while the husky is wise and understands the environment. An old man from Sulphur Creek warned the man that no person should travel alone when the temperature reaches fifty degrees below zero. The man decided to set out at nine am along the Yukon river one morning with the husky in the hopes of reaching his companions at a campsite on the left fork of Henderson…

Tragic Heroes and Narcissists

The tragic heroes and narcissists in the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor are the Grandmother and the Misfit. However, the focus is on the Grandmother and how she is in the grandiosity phase of being a tragic hero. There are personality characteristics associated with this phase, some of which the Grandmother has. She feels entitlement to get and do what she wants. In the story she takes her pet cat with her on the trip even though Bailey tells her not to. The Grandmother is a judgmental person. She judges other people based on petty things like clothes or first impressions. Finally, the Grandmother’s omniscience personality gets her killed. Right from the beginning,…

Alice Munro and Anton Chekhov

The comparative analysis of the stories of two famous contemporary writers Alice Munro and Anton Chekhov gives an opportunity to follow the development of the genre of short stories in Canadian and in Russian literature. Both are stalwarts of their respective literature. Commenting on the greatness of A. Chekhov, E. B. Tager writes: As far as Chekhov is concerned, it is not enough to say that the nineties ushered in a new stage in his literary career, these were the years when Chekhov’s genius was formed and he came to occupy one of the leading places among the greatest exponents of realism in the world literature of that time. (15) The proliferation of women writers is a remarkable feature of…

The Story of an Hour-Theme and Narrative Elements

When considering short stories, it is very important to realize that the little things make a big difference in how a piece is perceived. Each piece must be in sync to really help convey the short story in the way that was meant. Different literary elements are integrated in different short stories. For Kate Chopin, her piece The Story of an Hour, symbolism and point of view play very strongly into the story. To understand the significance of these elements, one must understand what this story is about. The Story of an Hour is directly about how a woman finds out, and reacts, to news of her husband’s passing. But that is just the plot. The theme of the story…