the yellow wallpaper short story cover
Short stories

Mental Health and Self-Agency: Themes In ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story about a woman’s descent into madness because her doctor husband downplays her mental illness. The story is also an ideal illustration of the 19th century society’s view of mental illness, and clear criticism of the rest cure that was often administered to patients with mental illness.

From a feminist literature perspective, Gilman shows how the lack of self-agency that characterized a woman’s life during the Victorian era was harmful. This literary analysis essay explores mental health and agency as the main themes in Charlotte Perkins’ The Yellow paper and how they intersect to create an ending that can be viewed as mental breakdown and mental freedom at the same time. 

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a jury of her peers feminist short story
Short stories

“A Jury of her Peers” by Susan Glaspell Feminist Analysis

In A Jury of Her Peers (1917) by Susan Glaspell, two women find crucial evidence that could convict a fellow woman for murder but choose to conceal it from the male authorities because they “understand” why she did it. This story is based on true events of the 1901 Hossack Murder Case which Glaspell covered as a reporter. A farmer’s wife (Margaret Hossack) was accused of killing her husband at night with an ax, convicted of murder, but freed after one year when her conviction was overturned and the jury couldn’t come to a consensus in a second trial. Among the issues of concern in the case was the couple’s troubled marriage and accusations of spousal abuse inflicted on Margaret.

This essay will use the feminist literary theory to analyze A Jury of Her Peers by expounding a few elements and themes of feminist literature that are present in the story.

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Short stories

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin Literary Analysis: Plot, Themes, Characters, Setting, and Symbolism

Summary

Kate Chopin’s (1850-1904) short storyThe Story of an Hour” narrates events that happen within an hour. 

Louise Mallard is a young, calm, and frail woman who suffers from a heart disease. On this day, Louise learns from her sister Josephine and a family friend, Richards, that her husband, Brently Mallard, has died. She briefly weeps in Josephine’s arms and then heads to her room alone. 

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Symbolism of the audiotapes in Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Short stories

 “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver: Symbolism in the Audio Tapes and What they Reveal about each Character

Raymond Carver’s 1983 short story Cathedral is about awakening and eye-opening experiences that go beyond the physical world. It vividly illustrates the difference between merely looking and seeing; hearing and listening that creates a connection. 

The author portrays this so well through the main theme of blindness and other symbolic elements. And more notably, the narrator’s character development, which goes from shallow and insensitive, to gaining the ability to look within themself and see things through another’s perspective. 

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wine barrels low lit
Short stories

Montressor as a Keen Observer of Human Behavior and Psychology: “The Cask Of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.

If you’ve read more of Edgar Allan Poe, then you’ll not be surprised by the horror that is the short story “The Cask of Amontillado.” Other short stories that he had published earlier, such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” set a precedent to this Gothic style of writing. 

Poe is one of the greatest gothic writers. His macabre works are characterized by an eerie atmosphere, mystery, dark psychology, terror, haunted spaces, and so on, all meant to evoke fear. The stories are comparatively short, full of suspense, and with characters often driven by malady, emotional crises, and other chilling motives.

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Stone Mattress
Books, Short stories

Layers and Layers of Experience: “Stone Mattress” by Margaret Atwood

Eventually, our life experiences shape who we become. As it is with human nature, some of these experiences we can control, while others we can’t, so we react. However, the ways we choose to react with love, hurt, or forgive are all our choices.

Stone Mattressis Margaret Atwood’s latest collection of short fiction that she calls ‘tales’ rather than ‘short stories’. The first three tales are connected by narrations and reflections of a poet’s two wives, and lover. While the other stories do not share characters or plot, the entire book is connected through major themes of aging and old age. In “Stone Mattress”, Atwood includes characters that are in their senior years, reflecting on what life has offered, making amends, or retributions.

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Short stories

Tying Symbolism and Irony in “Our Christmas Reunion” by Edward Chinhanhu

When the African continent, and especially the Southern region, was grappling with HIV/AIDS pandemic, SIDA, in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, used literature to raise awareness by showing how communities were dealing with the disease. Edward Chinhanhu’s short story Our Christmas Reunion is among the pieces that shone in the ‘Share Your Story about HIV/AIDS’ creative writing competition and anthologized in Nobody Ever Said AIDS: Poems and Stories from Southern Africa. A story that interweaves love, family, innocence, loss, sex education, and AIDS so well that in the end, every one of the themes is felt in equal measure.

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Short stories

The Themes of Friendship and Loyalty in O’Henry’s “After Twenty Years”

O’Henry is arguably the master of twist endings. Each of his plot twist catches the reader more off guard than the previous. Whether it is Della and Jim finding out they have sold their most prized possessions to buy each other nearly useless gifts in “The Gift of Magi or the drawing of a leaf we all assumed to be real in “The Last Leaf. More typical of his narrations is a plot comprising two people, whose relationship is stressed by different circumstances. And in between, readers learn about the plot twist. These trademarks are also evident in the short story “After Twenty Years“, along with the author’s satirical humor and witty narration.

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Short stories

Hints of Evil: How Shirley Jackson Foreshadows the True Meaning of “The Lottery”

Nearly everyone who reads Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery cannot even begin to fathom the true meaning of the lottery until it has already happened. The shock that we experience at the end on learning that the lottery’s winner becomes a sacrificial lamb to fulfill a tradition that has long lost its meaning catches us off guard.

And I think this is partly the reason this short story is still a success among Jackson’s readers; unknown to the reader, she builds on suspense that we only come to realize in the end. The hints that Jackson provides throughout the story only become evident after the first read. It is then that we go back to the story from the beginning and start seeing these instances of foreshadowing in bolder colors.

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Empathizing with the culprit- Lamb to the Slaughter Roald Dahl
Short stories

Empathizing with the Culprit- “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

A murder most foul, an unlikely culprit, and a leg of lamb served to the detectives. Through all these, readers are still likely to associate more with the culprit than any other character.

Summary: Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl

It is in the evening and heavily pregnant Mary Maloney is eagerly waiting for her husband, Patrick, to come home from work at the Precinct. However, when Patrick arrives, he is jittery and even makes himself another drink- a stronger one this time- before telling Mary that he wishes to leave her.

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