April 2022 favorites

April 2022

The April stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Roses, Rhododendron’ by Alice Adams
  2. ‘Warm River’ by Erskine Caldwell
  3. ‘What Have You Done?’ by Ben Marcus
  4. ‘A Story In Almost Classical Mode’ by Harold Brodkey
  5. ‘Back Then’ by Mary Grimm
  6. ‘Waugh’ by Bryan Washington
  7. ‘Car Crash While Hitchhiking’ by Denis Johnson
  8. ‘Thrift Store Coats’ by Brooks Rexroat
  9. ‘The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky’ by Stephen Crane
  10. ‘Maggie Of The Green Bottles’ by Toni Cade Bambara
  11. ‘The Landlord’ by Wells Tower
  12. ‘Heathen’ by Mike Wilson
  13. ‘Donna’ by Michaella Thornton
  14. ‘The Princess And The Puma’ by O. Henry
  15. ‘The Day The Dam Broke’ by James Thurber
  16. ‘The Texas Principessa’ by William Goyen

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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November 2018 favorites

November 2018

The November stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Then We’ll Set It Right’ by Robert Gorham Davis
  2. ‘Tiny Smiling Daddy’ by Mary Gaitskill
  3. ‘How Old, How Young’ by John O’Hara
  4. ‘The Fight’ by Stephen Crane
  5. ‘The Rain Horse’ by Ted Hughes
  6. ‘Key To The City’ by Diane Oliver
  7. ‘Crusader Rabbit’ by Jess Mowry
  8. ‘His New Mittens’ by Stephen Crane
  9. ‘Mama’s Missionary Money’ by Chester Himes
  10. ‘Four Men In A Cave’ by Stephen Crane
  11. ‘The Snake’ by Stephen Crane
  12. ‘Celebrations Of Thanksgiving: Cuban Seasonings’ by Ana Menéndez
  13. ‘Two Blue Birds’ by D.H. Lawrence
  14. ‘An Experiment In Misery’ by Stephen Crane
  15. ‘Twilight’ by Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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January 2015 favorites

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January 2015

The January stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘How I Met My Husband’ by Alice Munro
  2. ‘Bardon Bus’ by Alice Munro
  3. ‘One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts’ by Shirley Jackson
  4. ‘The Open Boat’ by Stephen Crane
  5. ‘Where I’m Calling From’ by Raymond Carver
  6. ‘The Drunkard’ by Frank O’Connor
  7. ‘The Wind And The Snow Of Winter’ by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  8. ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker
  9. ‘The Enormous Radio’ by John Cheever
  10. ‘The View From Castle Rock’ by Alice Munro
  11. ‘Boys And Girls’ by Alice Munro
  12. ‘The Sun, The Moon, The Stars’ by Junot Diaz
  13. ‘The Skull’ by Philip K. Dick
  14. ‘The NRACP’ by George P. Elliott
  15. ‘Train’ by Alice Munro
  16. ‘The Other Foot’ by Ray Bradbury
  17. ‘Pigeon Feathers’ by John Updike
  18. ‘Jokester’ by Isaac Asimov
  19. ‘Tell Me A Riddle’ by Tillie Olsen
  20. ‘The Speech Of Polly Baker’ by Benjamin Franklin
  21. ‘The Star’ by Arthur C. Clarke

‘The Open Boat’ by Stephen Crane

Crane, Stephen 1897

The Open Boat by Stephen Crane, 1897

The magic trick:

Winning the readers sympathy toward the men in the boat early in the story

I suppose the mere situation – four men stuck in a tiny boat on the sea after a shipwreck – is enough to engender sympathy. However, Crane does a nice job of winning more specific goodwill from the reader for his four castaways early in “The Open Boat.”

He has the oiler still responding to the captain’s orders with the utmost respect. He describes their teamwork, their positive attitude despite a ceaseless physical toll. He describes the bond that has formed between the four men through their shared peril. Interestingly, he never quite gives any of the four particularly individual characteristics. The reader’s sympathies lie with the group as a whole, which, of course, makes their ensuing attempts to survive all the more tense and emotional. And that’s quite a trick on Crane’s part.

The selection:

It would be difficult to describe the subtle brotherhood of men that was here established on the seas. No one said that it was so. No one mentioned it. But it dwelt in the boat, and each man felt it warm him. They were a captain, an oiler, a cook, and a correspondent, and they were friends – friends in a more curiously iron-bound degree than may be common.

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