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I hope this question gets moved to the discussion forum as I'm sure there are several great and more specific ideas that could come from other editors, teachers, and students.
In the absence of more defined boundaries, my first advice to you would be to create a list of short stories and authors who:
- you know somewhat well (or at least familiar with)
- you enjoy reading
- are famous/well-read enough to have critical commentary published about their works
8 pages is a significant paper, which means it will more than likely require research in addition to your own ideas. While there are some very good modern short stories out there, I hesitate to send you in a direction that would yield very few results in the way of critical commentary and research.
On the other hand, I would also advise you to stay away from the most well-read "classics" of short stories, as anything you would end up writing has very likely been written before. The key will be to find something new enough (or obscure enough) that your ideas will be fresh, but not so new or obscure that you cannot find others who can help back you up.
Lamb to the Slaughter and The Land Lady by: Roald Dahl are good choices because both are ironic and full of suspense. Both have female murders though they murder for different reasons. Mary Maloney cracks while the Landlady is crazy and makes "pets out of people."
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