Short & Sweet

Listed below are brief precis of short stories from four acclaimed 20th-Century American authors. Can you name the story being described?

1 of 8
In this story, F. Scott Fitzgerald tracks the lives of two downtrodden and impoverished soldiers, a pair of star-crossed lovers from the upper crust of society and a humble, but passionately dedicated socialist trying to run a magazine. The characters' lives interweave and eventually coalesce as the sweeping events of a single day rush breathlessly by, capturing and directing them unpredictably until they arrive at a dramatic conclusion involving a death, a riot and a suicide.
May Day
Babylon Revisited
Crazy Sunday
2 of 8
This William Faulkner piece offers the reader one of the most telling and startlingly realistic representations of "white trash" in all of literature. Abner Snopes' family is ordered in no uncertain terms by the Justice of Peace to hitch up and leave town because he's had enough trouble from one irascible man over the years. New digs, however, do not translate to an attitude adjustment or monumental character change in Abner, and he's quickly up to his old tricks again. His youngest son finds himself stuck in a quagmire as he debates whether or not to obey his father and toe the family line, or do what he knows to be right and rat him out in order to avoid another soul-wrenching humiliation.
Notes on a Horsethief
Hell Creek Crossing
Barn Burning
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A conversation between a young female interlocutor named Sybil Carpenter and a young man named Seymour Glass, just released from a hospital and the Army, compose the majority of this J.D. Salinger masterpiece of short fiction. They have a pleasant conversation and a nice swim, and return to the hotel in Florida they're both staying at. Although the mysterious illness effecting Seymour is never explicitly stated or identified, it doesn't take much exploratory reading to understand that something is amiss. Upon Seymour's return to his room, he fires a bullet into his head.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish
Seymour: An Introduction
The Laughing Man
A Walk on the Beach
4 of 8
In this obsessive treatment of who maintains psychological control over a relationship- a husband or his wife- Ernest Hemingway adds an astonishing ending that draws this oft-anthologized story to a close. The balance of power shifts alternately from one to the other as the events of the story unfold and ultimately reach a dramatic crescendo when the wife shoots the husband in the back of the head (accidentally?) during a hunting safari.
Winner Take Nothing
The End of Something
The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
Mr. and Mrs. Eliot
5 of 8
Dexter Green fruitlessly pursues Judy Jones in this Scott Fitzgerald tale about the pains of unrequited and unattainable love. As is frequently the case in Fitzgerald's stories, Dexter is a member of the nouveau riche, and consequently off limits to the likes of Judy- who is old money through and through. The story revolves around Dexter's unflappable drive to possess the impossible, as Judy flits about the periphery both unwilling and uninterested in realistically exploring a potential coupling.
Winter Dreams
The Rich Boy
The Long Way Out
The Freshest Boy
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Hemingway's broodingly philosophical study of the hopelessness of life is personified by an old man drinking brandy in a Paris cafe in this tale. A young waiter, with joie de vivre and a new wife, is anxious for the old man to leave so he can return home and enjoy his youth and life. An older waiter, more understanding and experienced in the ways of the world, understands why the man stays as long as possible and drinks in complacent solitude. The two waiters discuss the point of the old man's existence with strikingly dissimilar opinions on the subject.
The Undefeated
A Very Short Story
Out of Season
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
7 of 8
A chance encounter between a U.S. serviceman attending intelligence training and an articulate and communicative young choir singer kicks off this Salinger yarn. They meet in a tearoom in Devonshire and decide they'd like to keep in touch. The serviceman is preparing for the D-Day invasion. The story is divided into two parts- the first, covering the initial meeting between the two, and the second relating the serviceman's sojourn in a military hospital...where he is unable to read or write because of the devastating effects of the war. As it turns out, he was not among the lucky who returned home with their f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s intact, as the girl had hoped.
Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes
For Esme- With Love and Squalor
The Laughing Man
Just Before the War With the Eskimos
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Although William Faulkner referred to this modest yarn as a "ghost story," it actually has nothing to do with ghosts at all...unless you choose to count the haunting history of antebellum Mississippi as a ghostly presence. The story follows, through the sinuous paths of its complex structure, the life of an eccentric old woman in Faulkner's fictional town of Jefferson. The story goes over the woman's strange relations with her father, her lover and the town in general while circuitously journeying towards its gruesome ending-which involves a rather shocking and disturbing development.
Dry September
A Rose for Emily