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Thread: Truly great short stories

  1. #46
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    there are too many good stories to narrow it down to one, but my favourites are:
    "the yellow wallpaper" by charlotte perkins gilman
    "the old man and the sea" and "a farwell to arms" by Hemingway
    "the black cat" and "the masque of red death" by Poe

  2. #47
    fated loafer
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    The Yellow wallpaper is facinating, how she loses it looking at the same thing over and over and imagining it to be alive. I think it is one of the best short stories of all time.

  3. #48
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    Another old thread. How come I haven't noticed it before?
    The best short stories writer, apart from EAP, is Julio Cortazar. All his works are great but I'd like to recommend his shortest one - Continuity of Parks. It is just a two-page story but it's just amazing. I sometimes wonder how it is possible to write stuff like that.
    In dreams begin responsibilities.

  4. #49
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    I'm in the process of doing a paper about "The Lottery". While I don't know if I agree that it's the best one, the reading of it has certainly impacted me deeply .
    A book is an ax to break the frozen sea within us-Frank Kafka

  5. #50
    fated loafer
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    The Lottery is simply put, one of my favorite short stories for it's impact not it's style of writing or other literary elements which were not that outstanding. How is the paper coming and what are you writing it about?

  6. #51
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    It's a literary analysis paper, to put it succinctly. You know how it goes, analyze the theme, symbolism, characters, yada yada. I found it a little difficult at first to put the theme into words brief enough to be expressed in a thesis, but once I did that the rest is coming together well. Every time I read the story though, I see some different element that has a fresh impact on me; Tessie running to her death for instance. Are we all that blindly obedient to accepted traditions? Geeeeezzzzzz, how disturbing.

    I agree with you though, that the writing style etc. are not necessarily unique or extraordinary, it's the message of the story that is so impactful. I also found it rather amazing that, upon the first reading, I found myself holding my breath waiting for the end even though there's very little reason for feeling such suspense. It's almost as though the very normalcy of the procedure of the lottery is what creates the breathless anticipation. Somehow, one just instinctly knows that this CAN'T be a good thing. In that, I think Jackson was a genuis. She manages to create suspense without the typical tools of suspenseful writing.
    A book is an ax to break the frozen sea within us-Frank Kafka

  7. #52
    fated loafer
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    Quite right Hummer, she is a genius. Have you read any of her other works, short stories, novels? She wrote the Haunting of Hill House, which has some of hte most interesting dialogue I have read.

  8. #53
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    I'm embarrased to admit that I haven't. I'm aware of the book, but was not aware until recently that she was the author of it. It's right up at the top of my list though, especially now.

    Am I mistaken in remembering that there is also a film loosely based on The Haunting of Hill House?
    A book is an ax to break the frozen sea within us-Frank Kafka

  9. #54
    fated loafer
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    Yes I believe there are one or two films based on the book or at least use some of hte ideas loosely. I have seen only one and it was a mediocre horror film by itself that was entertaining, but hardly had the dialogue or the intrigue and complex relationships of the novel.

    If you are intersted in Jackson see if you can find her short story collection where she talks about her works, and discussed the phenomenon caused my The Lottery where she actually recieved letter asking where this town was located so they could destroy it. She also talks about her children and that she got the idea for the story while pushing her baby in it's carriage up a hill. She is a very interesting person, I wonder if there is a biography of her somewhere.

  10. #55
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    I actually just read one a moment ago, and of course closed out the window before I read your post. If I can find it again I'll send you the link. It was not a detailed biography; but fascinating none the less. Apparently, she was another relatively disturbed genius along the same lines as our friend Mr. Poe.

    In the interest of answering my own question, I did some research. Apparently, 1999's "The Haunting" starring Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among others, was a modern remake of a 1963 film that much more closely followed the Shirley Jackson novel. I saw the '99 version, and was relatively spooked by it. However, not having read the Jackson novel yet, I cannot comment on whether or not it did Jackson justice.

    Perhaps another discussion for another time?

    Also, in one of the reviews I read, the reviewer said that Ms. Jackson's genius was not in what she said as much as in what she didn't say. She was a minimalist; economical in the words she chose and the way she arranged them. How incredible to still be able to cause us to hold our breaths, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.
    A book is an ax to break the frozen sea within us-Frank Kafka

  11. #56
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    "The Dead " by James Joyce

    "For Esme with Love and Squalor" and "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" by Salinger

    "The Destructors" by Graham Greene

    "The Judgement" by Kafka
    "When unto these sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up a remembrance of things past."

  12. #57
    A Minnesotan in Japan
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    Short Stories

    Hello Everyone

    I'm trying to understand the form of the short story better. If you have any favorite stories, please post them here. Also, if you are a writer of short stories, please pass on any knowlege you might have. I'm currently working on rewriting a story of mine, and looking to some of the masters for a little help.

    Some of my favorites:

    Katina - Roald Dahl
    The Birthmark, Wakefield - Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The Snows of Kilimanjaro - Hemingway
    Hell Screen - Ryunosuke Akutagawa
    He Swung and He Missed - Nelson Algren
    For Esmé- with Love and Squalor - J.D. Salinger

  13. #58
    Just another nerd RobinHood3000's Avatar
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    I don't know about being masters (at least in my case), but we will offer whatever we have. I write some short stories, although my body of work is a little too small to say that I have a definite preference. My best work so far has been in the form of articles and a sole novellette. Length-wise, the upper limit for a short story is a little fuzzy, although I have heard it described as a piece one reads in one sitting.

    As for format, the short story is certainly one of the more flexible. Generally, compared to a novel or novella, a short story tends to have a relatively truncated exposition and resolution, although where you cut corners is entirely up to you. Or it may happen that certain ideas or executions have only the right amount of steam in them to generate a short story (as opposed to a novel or novella), in which case you can just have at it and let the length take care of itself.

    I must admit that editing is one of my favorite parts of the writing process, especially once you've had a little feedback. As for reading short stories, I have some personal favorites:

    "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry
    "The Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe

    I'll almost certainly think of more later. Best of luck, and welcome to the LitNet Forums,

    RobinHood3000
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  14. #59
    Just a few I could recommend:

    Rain by W. Somerset Maugham
    To Build A Fire by Jack London
    The Rocking Horse Winner by D. H. Lawrence
    Babylon Revisited by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Kneel To The Rising Sun by Erskine Caldwell

  15. #60
    I echo your two selections M'Lord and your first star.
    Anything by O Henry rivets me. Pierces the heart.

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