a taste of the world's best short stories


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  • 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

  • Vanessa MacLeod, the protagonist of Margaret Laurence's story 'A Bird in the House,' is twelve -- that profoundly... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • After serving as a Red Cross Ambulance driver in Italy during World War I -- an experience which went a long way toward forming the... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Many Christians consider it somewhat ironic that the story which has come to define the spirit of Christmas barely mentions Jesus. In... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Hemingway's 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place' centers around the conversation of two waiters in a comfortable, homey Spanish... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • 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

  • A Jury of Her Peers is a story taut with violence. At no time do we see blood; there is no screaming; there are no corpses; there... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Entertaining houseguests -- particularly houseguests one doesn't know well -- can always be a bit unpredictable. In 'A Respectable Woman... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Faulkner's 'A Rose For Emily' is told from the viewpoint of an anonymous resident of Jefferson, Mississippi, where the Grierson... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • In 'A Wagner Matinee,' the narrator, a young Bostonian named Clark, is notified that his aunt is coming to visit from Nebraska. Clark... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • 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

  • This little tale by Saki (H.H. Munro) pokes fun another of the favorite pasttimes of the wealthy during the Victorian-Edwardian era: traveling to exotic... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • 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

  • Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) by Karen Bernardo: Few writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have managed to remain as enigmatic as Ambrose Bierce...

  • Anyone who has ever read 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' is guaranteed to never forget it. - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Ann Beattie (1947 - ) by Karen Bernardo: Ann Beattie has been compared in many ways to John Updike and John Cheever because of her suburban... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • We generally assume adolescence to be a time of innocence, as yet untainted by the cynicism of society. And yet James Joyce's "Araby," which deals... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Arthur Conan Doyle by Karen Bernardo: Arthur Conan Doyle wrote himself into history as the creator of the eccentric and brilliant detective Sherlock...

  • Here are some help with Assorted Literary Terms by Karen Bernardo...

  • Author Biographies by Karen Bernardo: Need to know more about a specific author? Read my author biographies and learn how these fascinating writers left their mark on history...

  • In F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited,' the protagonist Charlie Wales has come to Paris to try to get custody of his... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • As 'Barn Burning' opens, an adolescent boy named Sartoris Snopes is in court, hoping he will not have to testify in the arson case... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Before delving into Herman Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' it might help to define the unfamiliar term in the story's title... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Bessie Head (1937-1986) by Karen Bernardo: Born in South Africa of a white mother and a black father, it is no surprise that Bessie Head deals extensively in her works with the politics of...

  • Bobbie Ann Mason (1940 - ) by Karen Bernardo: A friend of mine, reading one of Bobbie Ann Mason's short stories in a literary magazine, remarked, 'I can't see what's so 'literary' about...

  • Welcome to Karen Bernardo's Book Editing Service! I love to help less-experienced or less-confident writers make their work the best it can be...

  • The realistic portrayal of a courageous prostitute in Guy de Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" (Ball of Fat) has guaranteed the story... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Characterization in Literature by Karen Bernardo: An important component of modern fiction is characterization. Historically, realistic characterization has only intermittently been...

  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) by Karen Bernardo: The work of Charles Dickens defined the poverty of the Industrial Revolution as no other author ever has. He made it his virtual life's...

  • In William Dean Howells' short story 'Christmas Every Day,' a little girl asks her father to tell her a story. The father... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Clarice Lispector (1925-1977) by Karen Bernardo: Clarice Lispector's quirky stories demonstrate her fascination with the creative process, rather than the actual act of...

  • Many of my readers are confused about the correct way to compile a works cited page. And how do you properly cite a website?

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's story 'Crazy Sunday' reflects a difficult era in the author's life -- the years he spent in Hollywood writing... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) by Karen Bernardo: Americans often have a distinctly romantic view of the British countryside, assuming it to consist of quaint villages, magnificent...

  • In his novella Daisy Miller, Henry James shows how during the late Victorian era, a newly-affluent moneyed middle class began moving into... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • 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

  • In Isaac Babel's short story 'Di Grasso,' the narrator is a fourteen year old boy employed by an Odessa theatrical booking firm. Unfortunately, his immediate... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • 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

  • Early Twentieth Century American Stories - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) by Karen Bernardo: Ever since Edgar Allan Poe began writing in the early 1830s, his work has become synonymous with terror, death, and Gothic horror...

  • William Dean Howells' Editha: In the twentieth century, we are all too familiar with the horror of war. We see it emblazoned on our television and... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Paule Barton's 'Emilie Plead Choose One Egg' has no plot to speak of; it is simply a slice of life, and it gives the reader... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo

  • Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) by Karen Bernardo: On the surface, Ernest Hemingway may seem an unlikely candidate for a bestselling writer. He was an indifferent student in high school,...

  • Eudora Welty (1909 - ) by Karen Bernardo: Eurora Welty's fiction chronicles the South by lovingly revealing the eccentricities of its people. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi...

  • Existentialism by Karen Bernardo: The term "existentialism" refers to a literary movement of the mid-twentieth century which holds that man has complete freedom to determine his....

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) by Karen Bernardo: To some extent, most writers reflect their lives and times in their works. However, few writers live their works and write their lives quite as...

  • I'm frequently asked how to find reliable sources on the Internet. That's something that will take you quite a while to master (it took me years, honestly) but here are a couple of tips.

  • Flannery O'Connor (1925-64) by Karen Bernardo: Flannery O'Connor has the reputation of writing some of the quirkiest fiction in the annals of American literature. Her characters are...

  • Franz Kafka (1883-1924) by Karen Bernardo: The stories of Franz Kafka cannot easily be mistaken for anyone else's; they range from slightly unnerving to quite patently insane, and...

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) by Karen Bernardo: Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote out of a radical Christian faith. This may seem an odd thing to say about a writer who created...