The Theme of Death in Short Stories | Essay Analysis

Reading Responses of the of the themes of death and gloominess is very famous in short stories. Five of such stories are analyzed in the paragraphs below.

My Son the murderer:

My Son the murderer is the story of a young boy named Harry who is deeply affected by the stories of violence and war. Most of the time, Harry remains isolated in his room and does not even interact with his father who is worried about his son’s well being. Harry’s mother is away taking care of her daughter as she is undergoing a bad pregnancy. Therefore the only people living in the house are Leo and Harry. As the story proceeds, Leo reads Harry’s personal letters which greatly angers harry and he threatens to kill his father. Harry goes to the beach and does not intend to return back home even when his father pleads to him. The story ends when his father runs after his hat and Harry stands motionlessly with his feet in the water. The readers are able to understand the position of both father and son as both of them take turns in narrating the story.

The School:

The story is set in a classroom that has witnessed a lot of deaths in the course of the year. Plants, pets, and even children from the classroom had died and the story shows the dialogue between the students and their instructor. The language used in the story is very simple and conversational which readily grasps the readers’ interest and attention. The narrator of the story is the teacher, through whose conversation the readers come to know about the deaths linked to that classroom. By the end of the story, the teacher is asked different questions regarding the reality of death and life which he is unable to answer properly. I believe that the story is more than just a narration. It tells about the cycle of life and the bitter reality that everything that dies is replaced and the cycle continues.


Heat tells the story of twin sisters who are murdered by a mentally unstable boy of the same age. The title of the story is symbolic and has a double meaning attached to it. It not only signifies the hot climate of the setting of the story but also tells about how death can lure a person beyond a person’s imagination. The story is filled with heavy characterization and gives details of the story enough to let the readers know about the situation but leaving out some gory detail. The story is written in a very grave tone and the style of narration makes the story appear like an obituary.


The story shows the city of Philadelphia in 1793 which is engulfed in the epidemic of yellow fever. The wealthy have left the city to save themselves from the infection while the one with no means has no option but to stay and die. It is clear from the reading that racist opinions are common among the whites as they allege that the disease is brought about by the slaves without any scientific evidence. On the other hand, the story also features good and caring people like the narrator who is an African American man with a family but still chooses to stay and help the residents of the city fight the fever.

Are these actual miles?

This is the story of a family that is in serious trouble due to their materialistic way of living. Tony appears to have a greater authority in the family than her husband Leo. This is evident from the fact that she is the one who goes to strike out a deal for their car and also slaps and blames Leo for their bankruptcy. The family was going along well when they were spending a lot of money but as soon as they went bankrupt, the relationships also began to turn sour. The family values money and status more than morality and that is the reason they are unable to live a happy family life.

Works Cited
Oates, Joyce Carol. The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Oxford University Press, 1994. Print.

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