I need suggestions of good short stories to write essays about. I want it to have themes that stand out easily (the author gives enough clues).I also want it to be something that can be easily...

I need suggestions of good short stories to write essays about. I want it to have themes that stand out easily (the author gives enough clues).

I also want it to be something that can be easily related to modern life and easy to understand.

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One short story that you could try is The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin. It is incredibly short, easy to understand, and has a strong theme of marriage and the roles we play within it. I provided a link to it below.

Any of O. Henry's short stories are very easy reads, and are super entertaining. The one with the strongest theme is probably Gift of the Magi, which talks about sacrifice and love. I provided a link to a good number of his stories, and hopefully there is at least one in there that will work for you.

One last suggestion is The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. This has powerful, almost overtly stated themes of pride, vanity and materialism, and how they lead to the downfall of a woman. I provided a link below with the text and commentary. I hope that those work for you, and good luck!

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One other story with a timeless theme is "The Piece of Yarn" by Guy de Maupassant.  The author's intense examination of the inner workings of the mind is intriguing and the theme of deceit leading to more deceit and then defeat is relevant to audiences today.

A Gothic tale that appeals to students of your age group is Lonesome Places by August Derleth which poses the idea that evil can be created in one's imagination.

Another tale, one of true adventure and danger, is The Open Boat by Stephen Crane.  This story is based upon a real incident in which Crane and two other men were stranded in a small boat for thirty hours.  It is a tale of man vs. nature, of course--one that usually appeals to male readers, especially since it is based upon reality.

Hope these help!

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A great story to read that has obvious themes is The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte is also very interesting.

If you read The Gift of the Magi, I had my students compare and contrast it with The Ring by Isak Dinesen.

I also liked There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury.



Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may have already read this one, but "The Lady or the Tiger?" is a short story with several rather clear-cut themes.  Another is "The Interlopers" by Saki (H.H. Munro), and "The Fifty-first Dragon" by Heywood Brown would be a bit lighter reading with a clear theme, as well.  You have a great list here.  Happy reading!

Jen Sambdman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Magic Chalk by Kobo Abe is a GREAT short story. I am also a big fan of Moonlight by Maupassant, and Riki-Tiki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner is a great story with obvious themes and an interesting structure.  Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne also have obvious themes and the allegory of some like "Young Goodman Brown" also help with understanding the intended meaning of the work.

litchick2011 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Two Kinds" by Amy Tan

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman Perkins

"The Gift of the Magi" O. Henry


tremaine | Student

the landlady and lamb to the slaughter by Roald Dahl

angel-girl | Student

A story you might not know:

On The Sidewalk Bleeding by Evan Hunter

It has obvious themes like death, individual vs. society...

cwittel | Student

Anthem, by Ayn Rand, is very short with a very obvious theme.  It is easy to do a compare/contrast to modern life.