American Short Stories

Short stories are a great way to introduce students to literary discussion. When discussing a novel, we consider point of view, setting, characterization, conflict, plot, tone, theme, and world view. All of these elements are present in short stories, but an author may develop one more fully than the others. In “Miss Brill,” Katherine Mansfield focuses more attention on the main character’s mental state than on the plot line. Because of their length, short stories can be read in one sitting giving all readers an opportunity to read closely, analyze development, and evaluate content.

The following stories could be read independently over the course of the school year, or they could be read as a unit. There are no prepared vocabulary lists on quizlet for this unit. Links and other resources referenced in the unit can be found in the Resources tabs in the blue box to the left.

  • The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Great Stone Face by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
  • A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
  • A Mystery of Heroism by Stephen Crane
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
  • To Build a Fire by Jack London
  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
  • Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament by Willa Cather
  • Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
  • A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
  • A & P by John Updike
  • Everyday Use by Alice Walker
  • Why I Live at the P.O. by Eudora Welty
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