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Mar 27, 2022

Short Stories with BIG Ideas

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šŸ”°Ā ā€œThe Tortoise and the Hareā€Ā by Aesop This classicĀ fableĀ (story) tells the story of a very slowĀ tortoiseĀ (another word for turtle) and a speedyĀ hareĀ (another word for rabbit). The tortoise challenges the hare to a race. The hare laughs at the idea that a tortoise could run faster than him, but when the two actually race, the results are surprising. What Is Great About It:Ā Have you ever heard the English expression, ā€œSlow and steady wins the raceā€? This story is theĀ basis for that common phrase. ThisĀ timelessĀ (classic) short story teaches a lesson that we all know but can sometimes forget: Natural talent is no substitute for hard work, and overconfidence often leads to failure.

šŸ”° "The Bogey Beastā€Ā by Flora Annie Steel A woman finds a pot of treasure on the road while she is returning from work.Ā DelightedĀ (very happy) with her luck, she decides to keep it. As she is taking it home, it keeps changing. However, her enthusiasm refuses toĀ fade away (disappear or faint slowly). What Is Great About It:Ā The old lady in this story is one of the most cheerful characters anyone can encounter in English fiction. Her positiveĀ dispositionĀ (personality) tries to make every negative situation seem like a gift, and she helps us look at luck as a matter of our view rather than events.

šŸ”° ā€œThe Tale of Johnny Town-Mouseā€Ā by Beatrix Potter Timmie Willie is a country mouse who is accidentally taken to a city in a vegetable basket. When he wakes up, he finds himself at a party and makes a friend. When he is unableĀ toĀ bearĀ (tolerate or experience) the city life, he returns to his home but invites his friend to the village. When his friend visits him, something similar happens. What Is Great About It:Ā Humans have been living with out cities or villages for most of history. That means that both village and city life are recent inventions. And just like every other invention, we need to decide their costs and benefits.

šŸ”° ā€œThe Night Train at Deoliā€Ā by Ruskin Bond Ruskin Bond used to spend his summer at his grandmotherā€™s house in Dehradun. While taking the train, he always had to pass through a small station called Deoli. No one used to get down at the station and nothing happened there. Until one day he sees a girl selling fruit and he is unable to forget her. What Is Great About It:Ā Ruskin Bond is a writer who can communicate deep feelings in a simple way. This story is about our attachment to strangers and why weĀ cherish (value or appreciate deeply) them even though we do not meet them ever again.

šŸ”° ā€œThere Will Come Soft Rainsā€Ā by Ray Bradbury Earth has been destroyed by war and no one lives on it anymore. The robots and the machines continue to function and serve human beings who have long ago died.Ā  What Is Great About It:Ā The title is taken from a poem that describes how nature will continue its work long after humanity is gone. But in this story, we see that nature plays a supporting role and the machines are the ones who have taken its place. They continue their work without any human or natural assistance. This shows how technology has replaced nature in our lives and how it can both destroy us and carry on without humanity itself.

šŸ”° ā€œOrientationā€Ā by Daniel Orozco This is a humorous story where the speaker explains the office policies, as well as gossip about the staff, to a new employee. It is extremely easy to read as the sentences are short and without any overly difficult words. Many working English learners will relate to it as it explains theĀ absurditiesĀ (silly moments) of modern office life and how so little of it makes sense. What Is Great About It:Ā Modern workplaces often feel like theaters where we pretend to work rather than get actual work done. The speaker exposes this reality that nobody will ever admit to. He over-explains everything from the view out the office window to the intimate details of everyoneā€™s lifeā€”from the overweight loner to the secret serial killer. It talks about the things that go unsaid; how people at the office know about the deep secrets of our home life, but do not talk about it. Instead, the secrets become just blend into the office environment, like a potted plant that is seen but does not stand out.

šŸ”°Ā ā€œPaper Menagerieā€Ā by Ken Liu Jackā€™s mother can make paper animals come to life. In the beginning, Jack loves them and spends hours with his mom. But as soon as he grows up he stops talking to her since she is unable toĀ converse (speak)Ā in English. When his mother tries to talk to him through her creations, he kills them and collects them in a box. After a tragic loss, he finally gets to know her story through a hidden message which he should have read a long time ago. What Is Great About It:Ā The story is a simple narration that touches on complex issues. It is about leaving your own country with the promise of a better life. It is also about the conflicts that can occur between families when different cultures and languages collide. In this case, the tension is so high that it destroys the relationship between a mother and her son. It also has a moving message about never taking your loved ones for granted.

šŸ”°Ā ā€œHarrison Bergeronā€Ā by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr The year is 2081 and everyone has been made equal by force. To do this, every person who is superior in any way has beenĀ handicappedĀ (something that prevents a personā€™s full use of their abilities) by the government. Intelligent people are distracted by disturbing noises. Good dancers have to wear weights so that they do not dance too well. Attractive people wear ugly masks so they do not look better than anyone else. However, one day there is a rebellion, and everything changes for a brief instant. What Is Great About It:Ā Technology is always supposed to make us better. But in this case, we see that it can be used to disable our talents. Moreover, the writer shows us how the mindless use of a single value like equality can create more suffering for everyone.

šŸ”° ā€œThe Schoolā€Ā by Donald Barthelme A school teacher is narrating all the recent incidents that have happened on campus. First, they mention a garden where all the trees died. Pretty soon deaths of all kinds begin to occur. What Is Great About It:Ā Most of the adults do not know how to deal with death, even though they want to teach children about it. It makes us realize how weak our education systems are because they can not help us deal with lifeā€™s most basic issues. Eventually, the students start to lose faith in everything, and the adults have to put on a show of love to make themselves less frightened. It shows how adults can fail to explain and understand death, and so they just pretend that they do. In this way, the cycle of misunderstanding and avoiding lifeā€™s issues continues.

šŸ”°Ā ā€œGirlā€Ā by Jamaica Kincaid A mother is telling her daughter how to live her life properly. The daughter does not seem to have any say in it. What Is Great About It:Ā This may not be technically a story since there is no plot. ā€œGirlā€ talks about how girls are taught to live restricted lives since childhood. The motherĀ instructsĀ (tells) her to do all the household chores, indicating that it is herĀ sole purposeĀ (only aim or duty). Sometimes the mother tells her to not attract attention, to not talk to boys and to always keep away from men. On the other hand, she hints that she will have to be attractive to bakers and other suitable males in society in order to live a good life. This story is about these conflicting ideas that girls face when growing up.

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