Mini reviews of a few short stories I've had to read this semester...
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson: 4 stars
I have had to read "The Lottery" several times during my academic career. But I don't mind. This is such a wonderfully powerful and thought-provoking short that I don't protest when a Lit professor pulls it out of the pile.
"The Lottery" is a story about, well, a lottery held in a rural American town. The town is essentially "any town USA", and the townspeople are essentially anyone you might meet or know: a friend, a coworker, a family member...you. And that's what makes it so powerful. Jackson manages to pack quite a wallop in very few words. Written in 1948 post-WWII, it's a story about following without question, and the potential for inhumanity and cruelty that might live within all of us. A great short. Highly recommended.
"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin: 4 stars
A great short that takes place within the span of one hour. The main character, Louise Mallard, has an interesting revelation after learning her husband has been killed in an accident. Written and published in 1894, I thought it contained a courageous message. Loved the use of imagery in this one.
"Happy Endings" by Margaret Atwood: 3 stars
This is actually not a short, but an essay disguised as a short. Quite ingenious, actually. Atwood tackles the art of storytelling, and I suppose the art of reading. Endings, whether happy (no such thing as happy endings, according to Atwood) or not, will always be the same. Plots as well, as they are just a sequence of events. The true art of storytelling lies in what you do with the "how" and the "why". Atwood manages to get her message across in a creative and unique way.