a taste of the world's best short stories


Late 20th Century American Stories

  1. A & P by John Updike
    Updike's 'A & P' tells the story of a checkout boy, Sammy, who quits his job after his boss Mr. Lengel speaks disparagingly to three teenage... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  2. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
    O'Connor's apocalyptic fiction attempts to show her readers their limitless need for God's mercy. In 'A Good Man is Hard... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  3. A Worn Path by Eudora Welty
    Eudora Welty's short story "A Worn Path" deals with a very elderly and frail black woman, Phoenix, and the hardships inherent in her life.... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  4. Alicia Who Sees Mice by Sandra Cisneros
    It's amazing that an author can tell an entire story in two short paragraphs, and yet Sandra Cisneros' 'Alicia Who Sees Mice'... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  5. Death of a Traveling Salesman by Eudora Welty
    In Welty's 'Death of a Traveling Salesman,' the protagonist has been off work for some time due to a bad bout of influenza... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  6. Drawing Names by Bobbie Ann Mason
    Bobbie Ann Mason's story "Drawing Names" takes place on Christmas Day -- a poignant time that holds so much potential for heartache... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  7. Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor
    In 'Good Country People', Flannery O'Connor introduces us to Joy Hopewell, whose leg was blasted off in a childhood accident.... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  8. Greenleaf by Flannery O'Connor
    In Flannery O'Connor's short story "Greenleaf," the author depicts an embittered and self-centered old woman who is incapable of seeing... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  9. Happy Endings by Margaret Atwood
    Happy Endings is one of Margaret Atwood's most frequently-anthologized stories because it is so unusual. In... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  10. Hunters in the Snow by Tobias Wolff
    Tobias Wolff's 'Hunters in the Snow' is a fascinating study in self-absorption. Three friends,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  11. Redemption by John Gardner
    Readers familiar with John Gardner's biography cannot help but be struck by the similarity between the story line of "Redemption" and the facts... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  12. Revelation by Flannery O' Connor
    The "Revelation" in Flannery O'Connor's short story of the same name opens in the waiting room of a doctor's office, where the smug Mrs... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  13. Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason
    Bobbie Ann Mason's short story 'Shiloh' tells the story of a marriage with serious problems. The couple in question, Leroy and Norma Jean... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  14. Snow by Ann Beattie
    Ann Beattie's short story "Snow" is only a few pages long, and its brevity is no accident. It tells the story of an unnamed narrator who "grew up,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  15. Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin
    James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is told from the viewpoint of the title character's brother, a schoolteacher, who lives a much different... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  16. The Age of Lead by Margaret Atwood
    In Margaret Atwood's short story 'The Age of Lead,' the author alternates between two foci: a television program about the discovery and... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  17. The Burning House by Ann Beattie
    In Ann Beattie's short story "The Burning House," she describes the intertwined lives of a group of upwardly mobile friends, spouses,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  18. The Country Husband by John Cheever
    John Cheever is a novelist of suburbia. But in his short story "The Country Husband", however, Cheever reveals suburbia's darker side... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  19. The Gazebo by Raymond Carver
    In Raymond Carver's "Gazebo," the two central characters are a married couple named Duane and Holly. They are managers of a motel, for which... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  20. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
    Some of Sandra Cisneros' short stories are extremely short, only a few paragraphs long; they are more properly called... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  21. The River by Flannery O'Connor
    According to Flannery O'Connor, the real value -- the ONLY value -- in life is God's grace. This is dramatically shown in her short story... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  22. The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
    "Stella, cold, cold, the coldness of hell." So begins Cynthia Ozick's chilling story, "The Shawl." The story takes place on a death march to a... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  23. The Sky is Gray by Ernest J. Gaines
    James, the narrator of Ernest Gaines' 'The Sky is Gray,' is a black child living outside Bayonne, Louisiana during the Second World... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  24. The Swimmer by John Cheever
    John Cheever's story "The Swimmer" starts off reasonably enough. The protagonist, Neddy Merrill, is lounging about the swimming pool... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  25. This Morning, This Evening, So Soon by James Baldwin
    James Baldwin's very long story 'This Morning, This Evening, So Soon' concerns a black American expatriate... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  26. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Raymond Carver
    Raymond Carver's short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" takes place in one sitting,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  27. Why I Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty
    Eudora Welty's 'Why I Live at the P.O.' is told in the first person by a woman we know only as Sister. Sister is the postmistress of... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  28. Wife Wooing by John Updike
    John Updike's 'Wife Wooing' deals with the subject of a husband who does not understand the complexities of his wife. The story's... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo