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.Continue Reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue Reading…
In her interview with the New Yorker right after publishing the short story ‘Two Men Arrive in A Village,’ Zadie Smith discussed, among other things, the inspiration for this story. She mentioned the idea of eliminating specifics in storytelling in a way that allows a story to implicate everybody. In her words,Continue Reading
Joycean epiphany: one of those often subtle but definitive moments after which life is never quite the same again. All of us, or a majority of us, have felt it. We discuss it so often as a literary effect that we forget how accurately it depicts human beings’ experience with change.
To some extent this translates to the way we shape our memories; editing as we go and forgetting some details . Just like in James Joyce’s short story Araby, a grown man remembering a single night with a mixture of scorn and tenderness, a night when his childhood and adolescence naivety is shed and replaced with anguish.Continue Reading
Solomon Northup’s memoir ‘Twelves Years a Slave’ has received notable recognition in contemporary media. Among the many themes he explores when narrating accounts of his and other slaves’ experiences in the hands of white slave owners, violence is central.
While it is apparent that violence was part of slavery in America, most slaveholders tried to deny this, masking it with such explanations like the slave tried to escape with every chance they got.Continue Reading
Feminist literature has come a long way and I am still amazed by authors, especially female, who still keep at it. This is the kind of writing that uses language and literature to highlight social, economic, political, among other aspects, rights for women.
Literary works vary in how they explore this issue and are often categorized in theories and feminism waves/periods. In most cases, the change in advocacy methods rises at certain times in history and are often influenced by the political and social activities at their peak around that time.Continue Reading
When Cristina Huenriquez’ short story ‘Everything is Far From Here’ was published in The New Yorker’s July 2017 issue, there was so much buzz among its discussions.
An immigrant mother is separated from her young son as they cross the American border. She arrives at the camp earlier than her son and the rest of her time is spent worrying about him. At one point, her anguish gets the best of her and worries that she can no longer recognize her son. At another, she confuses a random boy with her son. When it is too much, she screams and the guards have to put her in confinement. She vows to stay here until her son comes.Continue reading ““Everything is Far From Here” by Cristina Huenriquez.”
Numerous authors have opined Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown“, each with a new perspective or an improvement of their former. While it is not a much explored topic, avid readers of Hawthorne can attest to the author’s regular use of humor and satire to address human follies.
Now, combining this kind of humor and an ironic attack on (Puritanism) religious practices gives us humor as a standalone linguistic device that is both symbolic and thematic in this story.Continue Reading…
Given a chance, would you want to know the exact date of your death, minus its circumstances? How do you think such information would affect you and your loved ones? Typically, curiosity is likely to drive many people to inquire about their death date, but the mere fear and thought of death at its mention would tame this same curiosity.
Human beings are subject to death. This bitter realization of our inability to achieve immortality in the near future has resorted to scientific innovations like anti-ageing technology. In Helen Phillips’ world, technology can tell people their date of death.Continue Reading