Category: Short Story Study

  • Accidents by Carol Shields Analysis

    The more you read of [Shields’] stories the more you sense her delight in making connections, moving things on…If Shields had a single subject in these stories it was really solace, the strategies we employ to keep despair, or doubt, or even confusion at bay. Mostly that solace comes from language, whether it be literature or everyday wisdom…She dwells a lot…

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  • The Swimmer by John Cheever Analysis

    “The Swimmer”(1964) is considered one of Cheever’s best short stories. Anne Enright feels that this would never have worked as the novel Cheever had originally planned and adds that it would work even better as a short story had he lost one or two pools. (The naturist communists are amusing but we don’t want any more than that.) Anne Enright…

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  • Madeline’s Birthday by Mavis Gallant Analysis

    Mavis Gallant died last year, but if she were still around she might not think much of my attempt to dissect her stories in order to learn from them: Gallant is dismissive of analysing or explaining her work, and distrustful of academic attempts to do so. The Guardian, 2009 The same Guardian article says of her work, ‘One of the most…

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  • Short Story Endings and Extrapolation

    Short Story Endings and Extrapolation

    A key term in classical Chinese poetry is ju jue yi bujue (句絕意不絕) which means “lines that end but meaning that does not end.” This is a useful distinction, and a similar concept applies to many short stories. Staying in Asia, Japan also has a concept which applies to many types of short story endings: Yugen (幽玄) refers to a concept…

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