wine barrels low lit

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

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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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 raised awareness of the same by showing how communities were dealing with the disease through literature. 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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Friendship and Loyalty in O’Henry’s “After Twenty Years”

O’Henry is arguably the master of twist endings. Whether it is Della and Jim finding out that 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 assumed to be real in “The Last Leaf, each of O’Henry’s intended ending catches the reader more off guard than the previous. More typical of his narrations is the plot that will normally comprise two people whose emotional interaction is stressed by different circumstances and in between, readers learn about the 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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Hints of Evil: How Shirley Jackson Foreshadows the True Meaning of the Lottery

Nearly everyone who reads Shirley Jackson’s 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 that the 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 to the reader after the first read. It is then that we go back to the story, from the beginning, and start seeing the instances of foreshadowing in bolder colors.

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Empathizing with the culprit- Lamb to the Slaughter Roald Dahl

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.

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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Feminist short stories

3 Feminist Short Stories That you will Absolutely Love

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. Literature 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, mostly influenced by the political and social activities that were at their zenith.

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Everything is Far From Here by Cristina Huenriquez.

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.

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A Thin Veil of Satire- Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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 fact that some of his works also use deep level humor to address human follies. Now, combining this kind of humor and an attack on (Puritanism) religious practices gives us humor as a standalone linguistic device that is not only symbolic and thematic, but also signify.

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