Murder and Mental Breakdown in “The Tell-Tale Heart” and The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dr. James Knoll, a forensic psychiatrist, says, “The paranoia exists on a spectrum of severity. … Many perpetrators are in the middle, gray zone where psychiatrists will disagree about the relative contributions of moral failure versus mental affliction.” Dr. Knoll mentions that, in murderers, the line that defines their motives tends to be rather grey. … Read more

Decaying Morals of Individuals in Society

John Cheever’s cynical ruminations on man’s loss of humanity in the modern world are artfully articulated in his short story “The Five-Forty-Eight” (Kennedy, 316). A brief recollection of an average man’s flight from a jilted, seemingly psychotic ex-lover in New York City to the suburbs allows Cheever to admonish the indifference, disdain, and lack of … Read more

The Role of Daily Sacrifice in the Rain Came

People must make sacrifices every single day. Whether such sacrifice serves to benefit them, those around them, or society in general, people find that decisions to give up aspects of their lives are prevalent in human nature. Both spectrums of this theme are thoroughly explored in Grace Ogot’s The Rain Came. Often, in tribal cultures … Read more

"The Other Woman" by Virgilio Samonte

The Other Woman, by Virgilio Samonte, is a short story that set out a fray-like relationship between spouse and mistresses. The Other Woman is written in narrative form, where the author used excessive aesthetic words to define the situations, emotions, and the settings effectively, which able the author to portray a catchy story. Also, Samonte … Read more

A Tale of Suffering

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” is a tale of suffering. Placed in an environment that is “encircled by disaster” (Baldwin 1615), the narrator constantly attempts to escape from the suffering around him. He avoids all contact with those around him and becomes disconnected from who he truly is. However, it is through his brother, Sonny, that … Read more

A Study of Tree Girls

“A sex symbol’s currency lies in her youth, her curves, in the suggestion that a sexual encounter lurks around the next corner.” (Sharon Krum, The Guardian) The power struggle between genders in society is something that can be seen every day, particularly in the media. The importance of female celebrities to stay in the spotlight … Read more

display of factual history shaking hands with fiction

When reading Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49” one is flooded with a deluge of historical references (dates, places, events) and, unless a historical genius, probably feels confused as to the historical accuracy of such references. As critics have shown, Pynchon blends factual history with fiction and manages, as David Seed writes in “The Fictional … Read more

Cather’s Connection to “Paul’s Case”

To understand art, one must first understand the artist who created it and their motivation in doing so. In Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperance” the protagonist, Paul, is a unique and complex character, which gives insight into the complexity of his creator. Understanding Cather’s personality and her purpose in the … Read more

How Social Deviancy Shaped the West in Bret Harte’s Fiction

Bret Harte’s fiction contributed largely to the development of the Western as a literary genre. One of the earliest authors to fictionalize the American West, he spun humorous yarns depicting the offbeat gamblers, prostitutes, miners, and outright outlaws of 1850s California. These social deviants take central roles in his short stories: “The Luck of Roaring … Read more

Stylistic and Genre Features of The Adventure of the Speckled Band

The genre of the detective story is one of the most remarkable categories of short fiction. The Sherlock Holmes stories are genuine masterpieces created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the usage of the detective stories elements has contributed to their popularity. In “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the author employs the opportunities of … Read more

Real and Ideal in the Boat

The Dutch Historian Pieter Geyl once stated that “Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author’s personality.”(1) If we were to replace the word ‘history’ with ‘a historically based story’, is this not also the case with Nam Le’s novel The Boat? … Read more

A Psychoanalysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Often, the elements of the mind and past developments play a key role in understanding events and writings. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe crafts tales that reveal the inner cravings that motivate action and perception. In “Ligeia,” Poe orchestrates his story to comment on … Read more

The Exclusivity of Racial Categories: An Analysis of the Racial Ambiguity in Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif”

Post-colonialism is concerned with the effects of colonization on the colonized. In fact, Richard Schur argues “that there can be no simple escape from the effects race, racism, gender, and sexism without some sort of decolonization” (277). One affect involves how language is used to form racial categories. Contemporary ideas of race include the belief … Read more

Revisioning Childhood: Memory and the Senses in Alice Munro’s ”Walker Brothers Cowboy”

Walker Brothers Cowboy, a short story written by Alice Munro, presents the pivotal (and perhaps formative) experience of a young, unnamed, female narrator. Munroe filters the girl’s visual and olfactory-enriched memories through the present tense thoughts of a markedly matured voice, creating a nostalgic effect which foregrounds the significance of this childhood story to the … Read more

"The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst

The Scarlet Ibis is a heartbreaking story by James Hurst about two brothers; one brother is physically fit (narrator), while the other is physically disabled (Doodle). The story focuses on the idea that the older brother’s greediness, arrogance, and self-consciousness led to the death of his younger brother. To help us draw and anticipate Doodle’s … Read more

“She Wasn’t Soft”: Literary Analysis

In “She Wasn’t Soft”, T.C. Boyle uses dynamic and static characterization in his portrayal of an unhealthy relationship. Dynamic characters are characters who change throughout a story, the dynamic character in this story being Paula, while static characters do not change, like Jason. Jason and Paula have a relationship that does not contain mutual respect … Read more

The Consequences of Capitalism: A Marxist Analysis of “The Gift of the Magi”

Marxist philosophy believes that society views the world through a completely economic lens. Marxism dictates that society is separated into two classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie utilizes ideology to suppress the proletariat mainly by manipulating their perceptions of their free agency. One ideology that the upper class perpetuates onto the working class … Read more

Life and Death in "Dubliners" by James Joyce

Much of Dubliners revolves around the weary contemplation of mortality, the apex of which appears in the novel’s endpiece, “The Dead,” which serves as the perfect counterpart to “The Sisters,” bookending the collection of stories with a cyclic emphasis on the intersection between life and death, recapitulating the central recurring themes of poverty, political division, … Read more

Comparing “No Name Woman” and “Woman Hollering Creek”

Both stories are similar because they explore the theme of personal identity. Kingston’s “No Name Woman” explores the narrator’s struggles to connect her American identity with the Chinese Identity. Similarly, Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek” explores how Cleofilas’ Chicano identity affects her marriage and relationship. Therefore, the protagonists in both stories are women and they are … Read more

The Impotence of Words and the Vagueness of Truth in Winesburg, Ohio

Sherwood Anderson, in his masterpiece Winesburg, Ohio was “writing against the notion that stories have to have a plot which reveals a moral idea or conclusion” (Prof. Fisher, lecture). Like the “tales” that Doctor Parcival tells George Willard in “The Philosopher,” Anderson’s short stories also seem to “begin nowhere and end nowhere” (51). We as … Read more