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The Best D. H. Lawrence Stories Everyone Should Read

Are these D. H. Lawrence’s greatest short stories?

D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) wrote novels, short stories, and poems, among many other things. Although he died in his mid-forties – from tuberculosis – he was a prolific writer who left behind a vast body of work, including many short stories. Below, we’ve picked five of Lawrence’s very best short stories, and said a little bit about each of them.

The Rocking-Horse Winner’. ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner’ was first published in 1926. It’s a story about luck, money, and success, and the dangers of chasing after these and investing too much in them. But how we should analyse and interpret the story remains unclear. The story focuses on a young boy, Paul, who wishes to win money for his mother and who manages to do so by riding his rocking-horse until he enters a state of near-frenzy and he manages to ‘predict’ the name of the horse that will win the next major race. He does this several times, winning ever greater sums of money for his mother, egged on by his Uncle Oscar in whom he confides about the rocking-horse trick. But such a winning streak cannot go on forever… Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’

On one of Mansfield’s great stories of desire and disappointment

Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss’ is one of her first great short stories – the genre she excelled at (she never wrote a novel, and her poetry failed to make a mark on the literary world). ‘Bliss’ was first published in 1918, and is shot through with homoerotic longing and the animalistic nature of sexual desire. However, because Mansfield was writing in 1918, these things can only be hinted at through symbolism and suggestion, as this analysis will attempt to show…

‘Bliss’ (which can be read here) calls to mind the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’, and this is the question which lurks behind Mansfield’s story. Is it sometimes best to remain in the dark? Can some knowledge overwhelm you and threaten to destroy your entire world? In summary, ‘Bliss’ focuses on Bertha Young, a 30 year-old wife and mother who enjoys a comfortable middle-class life with her husband Harry and their baby. However, as the story goes on, we wonder whether she does ‘enjoy’ her life. Read the rest of this entry

The Best James Joyce Stories Everyone Should Read

James Joyce’s collection Dubliners (1914) was not an initial commercial success. It sold just 379 copies in its first year of publication, and 120 of those were bought by Joyce himself. Yet Dubliners redefined the short story and is now viewed as a classic work of modernist fiction, with each of its fifteen short stories repaying close analysis. Here are five of Joyce’s very best stories from Dubliners.

The Sisters’. The opening story in the collection, ‘The Sisters’ is unusual in that it is told in the first person, by a young boy whose friendship with a recently deceased Catholic priest, Father Flynn, starts to concern him as the narrator picks up rumours and whispers about the priest’s behaviour and reputation. Did Flynn do something wrong? Joyce doesn’t tell us – but the boy’s dreams and nightmares suggest that he may have been aware of something improper concerning the priest’s actions but, being only a child at the time, Read the rest of this entry