Short Stories

.. little bit. She thought of her crazy idea to cut off her hair for money. Once she got her haircut off and had the money, she was so happy to buy Jim a present. They exchanged presents only to find that Jim bought her a brush set and she bought him a chain for the watch he sold for her brushes.

Once again, she cried because they gave up their lovely possessions for each other and had nothing to do with their new presents. Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat” “The Open Boat” is a dramatic short story based on Stephen Crane’s own real-life experience. In this short story, Crane provided biographical facts and also added a lot of description. In the story there are a lot of psychological meanings of the experience and its effects on those people involved. I found an article dedicated to the concept of naturalism being applied to “The Open Boat”.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The article is by Jason Voegele and I found it on the Internet. As the story begins there are four main characters we meet. Crane goes into great detail to describe not only these four men, but also what lies around them. Voegele wrote that the “opening scenes show right away the antagonism of the men and the sea and nature’s lack of concern for their tragedy”. Even though the four men are in a terrible situation, nothing else in the nature world changes to help them. Things do not work like that. The men think nature is taking its toll on them as they keep getting into worse situations. It is just the way the world turns and things will always happen that you don’t want to happen.

The men begin to lose hope in their survival due to the pounding they are getting from the earth. “If this wind holds and the boat don’t swap, we can’t do much else”, is a statement from the captain. He has given up also. They feel they are up against a wall and can’t climb over. They all feel the lack of concern from the world around them.

Voegele also writes that Crane “now understands what it is to be human; that constant striving in the face of futility, and that need for others that ultimately none of us can deny”. The reality in the story seems a bit harsh in the beginning, but it becomes evidence of the characters human spirit in the end. The main conflict is human vs. nature. A single human life is insignificant in respect to the rest of the world.

Source: Willa Cather, “Paul’s Case” Paul seemed to me to be a boy who really needed good attention. His father emotionally abused him and he was looked down upon at school. All he really needed was someone who would just listen to him and talk to him like he was normal. Even though he was a problem child, I ended up liking Paul in the end of the story. I don’t know if it was a pity liking or what.

You can’t help but feel sorry for someone who has lost their mother, who’s father abuses them, and who wants to make their life better but is stuck where they are. I also don’t think he had any learning disability either. I just think that he didn’t get the right chance because everyone looked down upon him like he was the devils spawn. People were not willing to give Paul a chance. On a website I found, the article could not agree more.

They also had written that his teachers misunderstood Paul because he didn’t fully understand some of the harder lessons. In the article, they wrote about how Paul’s teachers “made Paul feel as if he were inferior to the other students, and that he was not worthy of their extra time for tutoring sessions, which only further discouraged Paul from wanting to learn.” ( ) I could not agree more. The teachers did not want to spend to time to help the poor child learn and that only pushed him further away and made him a more disgruntled child. Paul’s death was very sad to me. He led such a terrible and lonely life only to end his life at his own will.

I don’t know how you could kill yourself but then I kind of feel for the poor kid. I guess if I put myself in the situation of having my mother dead, my father abusing me, and having nobody want me to succeed, I wouldn’t want to live either. His life was very bleak. In the same article mentioned above they made a very good statement about Paul’s death; “One must wonder if Paul ever had a chance of not committing suicide with the life he led. Perhaps it was the only way out for him.” Perhaps that is true.

His life was so bleak and miserable that the only way of ending the day-to-day pain was to end his life. Sad but true. Source: D.H. Lawrence, “Odour of Chrysanthemums” “Odour of Chrysanthemums” is about a coal miner and his wife. Elizabeth is awaiting her husband, the coal miner, to come home.

They seem to already have some problems but she still is very concerned were he is at. He is late and she is expecting him to come home drunk. As she awaits his arrival home, she sits and thinks deeply about their relationship. She keeps a good attitude about it for the sake of their children. She doesn’t want them to see that anything is wrong.

Later his mother brings her the bad news. She tells Elizabeth that there had been an accident and her husband had suffocated. They bring his dead body to the house for the ladies to clean up. I think that is terrible to have the family of the dead man, clean him. That is pure suffrage.

The story brings out that in the remainder of the story. Elizabeth goes through many different emotions while washing him. She becomes very inquisitive, and then angry, and then she fills with sympathy, forgiveness, and cool consideration. She sees that her and her husband had long ago rejected something deep within the other, and that they had lived utterly separate lives. At the end of the story, Elizabeth is “grateful to death, which restored the truth.” Elizabeth’s emotional turmoil is very convincing. I would have never seen the turmoil coming from her because of her actions in the beginning of the story.

The chrysanthemums in the story symbolize Elizabeth’s emotions. I see the chrysanthemum as a terrible sign to Elizabeth. I think that it means that the flower reminds her of the misery in her life. It reminds her of her terrible marriage and her drunken husband. I also see it as the chrysanthemums odor smothering her somewhat like her husband was smothered by the coal fall. The odor of the chrysanthemums was so strong and overwhelming that it reminded her of her husband and his overwhelming power. Elizabeth’s final thoughts in the story are pretty deep.

She hides his dead body in the parlor so the children would not see. Elizabeth also seems to have a realization that she is powerless to control her life at all. She thought that now that life “was her immediate master.” She seems almost afraid to know that death has captivated her household and had a hold of her. She seems very afraid because of “death, her ultimate master.” James Joyce, “Araby” This story carries a great deal of character in it. I had to read it twice to get the full effect of what the story really was bringing to my attention.

First of all, I gathered from the information that this was a religious story by the names used in the beginning of the story. James Joyce uses names like Christian Brothers School in the first paragraph and gives the reader an insight of what the community the boy lives in is like. The boy in the story also gives great detail to the late priest. Another way to realize that this was a religious story was to pay attention to the way the boy treated his family. He had a lot of respect for his family and he partly showed it by waiting patiently for his uncle to arrive home.

He had to ask for permission and some money. Epiphany is a sudden surprise that the true nature of the character comes out during an exact moment. I saw the epiphany come out at the very end of the story when the boy went to the bazaar. He had planned to buy his obsession something while he was there. He arrived at the bazaar only to have a change of heart.

The boy realized that he had been overcome with this girl and in the meantime became obsessed with vanity. In an article I found, Diana Mak, wrote, “The boy had come up to the point of enlightenment and disillusionment.” ( ) He went to the fair in search for a prize but instead he saw what this girl had done to him and he felt nothing but “anguish and anger.” The boy thought that he could buy the love of this girl by buying her something. He didn’t realize that he was overcome with arrogance just for this girl. Source: XMCM/dianamak/essay.htm Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” This story has a lot of twists and turns. I was a little confused by the story at first until I found some articles to help me understand what the meaning of the story really was. These articles talked about how the story was an allegory for the changes in our country. I also found information about how Washington Irving took German folklore and added American scenes and events to add great depth into the story.

There are many types of unique symbolism throughout the story. These symbols let you know of the changes that are occurring in American society. Rip Van Winkle seemed to have gotten to take a break from the harsh changes that most Americans were feeling at the time. They went through the strife of a rapidly changing country, while Rip Van Winkle got to take a long, relaxing nap. In an article I found, it stated that ” Irving’s sociopolitical opinions do not become readily apparent until Rip wakes up from his sleep.

Rip is confused and asks questions seeking his identity in the same way that the young country was seeking its identity. Rip seeks the truth much as the new country was.” ( ) This is were I saw the allegory play into the short story. When Rip returned to the town, the sign that hung by the tavern had been changed. When he left the small town, the sign had a man with a crown and a scepter in his hand. After his return from the long nap, the sign was changed. The man in the earlier sign now had a large sword and cap instead of a crown.

Source: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw The first thing I researched was why Henry James wrote his book in installments. According to the web page,, James had the book published at Collier and they decided to divide the story into five parts and publish them in twelve installments. Collier was a magazine and to boost his circulation and revenue, he published The Turn of the Screw. Doing it in installments kept people buying his magazine. Collier and James did, however, agree to publish the story as a whole when Collier was done publishing James’ work. James wrote this piece at a time in history when people were beginning to lose faith in their traditional religion.

People were looking everywhere for spiritual understanding and James found it perfect to write this and have people find spirituality in the world beyond. In the same article as mentioned above, the wrote how “people searched for a new way of understanding and accepting death.” This seemed like the perfect way for James. The governess is the primary narrator in this The Turn of the Screw. She is a young lady who finds herself being the caretaker for two little children. The governess finds herself encountering the ghosts and struggles to fight for the souls of the children.

She cares for the two children, Flora and Miles. Miles was sent home from school for unknown reasons. It is hard to tell if the boy is just a terrible child or very smart and deviant. Flora is the sweet little girl whom is thought to be the one communicating with the ghost of Miss Jessel. In the prologue of the book, the opening reveals the origin of the book’s title.

They are telling a ghost story were a child is visited by a ghost. Griffin then says that he will give the frightening tale one “turn of the screw.” This makes the story into a ghost story. One part of the book that I found hard to interpret was the end of the book. Miles death came as a great shock. I think that the governess simply frightened Miles to death or could have smothered him to death. Sure that may be hard to believe but that was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with.

I saw foreshadowing in the story that brought me to believe that she smothered him. Miles was banished from school because of things he said. I assumed it was dirty language and he passed those words onto other children, including his own sister. Flora probably did not learn the appalling language from the ghost of Miss Jessel but most likely from her own brother. In the article from, they talk about the governess’ reaction to Miles and his confession. The governess was given adequate information about why Miles was expelled from school.

They also talk about how “the governess’s behavior is having a dangerous effect on the boy. The sweating, hard breathing, and weakness she describes begin even before she tells the boy that Quint is present.” The governess seems to get even more upset and then begins shaking the boy. I liked this book more than I thought that I would. I was not expecting it to a ghost story at all and was really quite surprised by the ending. Source: Creative Writing.


I'm Lydia!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out