11 Great Short Stories That AREN'T "The Tell-Tale Heart"
Start writing a post

For many of us, our experience with the form of short stories is limited to what we were forced to read in school (probably Edgar Allen Poe's horror classic, "The Tell-Tale Heart"). But reading short stories can be the perfect way to experience literature--and the best part is, you can get through them in one sitting.

1. "Hills Like White Elephants" by Earnest Hemingway 


Hemingway is famous for his bare-bones, nothing-but-the-necessities writing, and "Hills Like White Elephants" is a perfect example of his style, in just a few pages. It follows a conversation between a man and a woman as they discuss the woman getting an abortion, without ever directly addressing it.

2. "The Swan" by Roald Dahl


File this under stories that broke an eleven-year-old's heart. "The Swan" was a hard way for a young reader to learn that not everything Roald Dahl wrote about was a giant peach or a magical chocolate factory. But the story has stuck with me since then, and for a reason. "The Swan" follows the story of a small, quiet English boy, and how he is treated after one of his bullies receives a gun for a birthday present. It's a bit long for a short story, at about ten pages, but well worth the read.

3. "The Gift Of The Magi" by O. Henry


If you've read short stories before, you've probably read "The Gift Of The Magi," which is essentially, in notoriety, the comedy equivalent to "The Tell-Tale Heart." But it's worth a mention on the off-chance you haven't. O. Henry has the wry, quick wit of Mark Twain, but with more heart. "The Gift Of The Magi" follows Della and Jim, two people who are very poor and very in love, and the mistaken places their love leads them.

4. "To Build a Fire" by Jack London


Jack London is probably the best-known writer for stories that fall into the "Man Vs. Nature" category. "To Build a Fire" clocks in at about fifteen pages, which manages to be enough time to show the building desperation of a man realizing that he is dying, and the difficult choice he ends up making.

5. "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs


"The Monkey's Paw" is a classic thriller, where you never quite know what's real, what isn't, and who is to blame for what. It's great for psychological analysis, or just when you want an exciting ten-minute read.

6. "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin


Kate Chopin is one of the most well-known feminist writers of the 19th century. "The Story of an Hour" shows how one woman reacts to her husband's death.

7. "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell


"A Jury of Her Peers" details the investigation of a murder in the rural Dickson County. A woman is being questioned for the death of her husband--but as the investigation goes on, more and more is uncovered that may mean the murder had justification.

8. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


If you liked the unreliable narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart," you're going to love the infinitely more interesting "The Yellow Wallpaper." I won't spoil much beyond the fact that you get to SEE the narrator's progression into unreliability.

9. "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty


One of my favorite short stories, "The Sniper" puts you in the mind of a sniper during a civil war, with one of the most unexpected but perfectly gut-wrenching endings I've read.

10. "The Three Questions" by Leo Tolstoy


Tolstoy is essential for any lover of short stories. "The Three Questions" is one of his most famous, a simply told but powerful tale of a king who seeks out a hermit for advice on how to be a better king.

11. "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde


"The Happy Prince" is my favorite short story of all time. It is sweet, moving, and will make even the most stoic of readers shed a tear. In "The Happy Prince," a beautiful golden statue and a swallow form a partnership to help the city they live in.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd82bSBDE84

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less

The Latest Trends in the Music World

The music world is a fast evolving and ever changing landscape of influence. Over the last 20 years, we've seen the influx of home recording technology paired with the rise of streaming, making way for new independent artists and communities to flourish.


The music world is a fast evolving and ever changing landscape of influence. Over the last 20 years, we've seen the influx of home recording technology paired with the rise of streaming, making way for new independent artists and communities to flourish. This is the positive side of the streaming coin, different kinds of music can exist in the same spaces in much more fluid ways. Aesthetic and musical styles are merging and taking on new life in the 21st century. Trends in the music industry can be most easily followed by exploring instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms to see what people are wearing and listening to. Let's take a look at a few style and artistic trends influencing the world of music.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments