Short Stories Study Guide

Haley, Allyson, April

The Luck of the Roaring Camp



  • Summary: There was one lady in the camp. She was pregnant. She had the baby and died. The men in the camp gave the baby gifts and decided to keep the baby and raise it. They named him Luck because after he was born, good things happened to the camp. There was a snowstorm that flooded the valley in which they were located. The baby died.


  • Character List: Cherokee Sal; Kentuck; Stumpy; Tipton; Jinny (the donkey); Luck


  • Vocab Words: expiation: the act of making amends; ab initio: from the beginning; ex officio: by virtue of one’s status; sepulture: burial; facetiousness: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor


  • Literary Devices: Characterization: “She was a coarse, and, it is to be feared, a very sinful woman.”; Conflict: “But the unlucky suggestion met with fierce and unanimous opposition.”; Theme: family brings people closer together…


  • A Way To Remember: Good things can come in different forms.

A Rose for Emily


  • Summary: Emily was an older woman in a small town. After her father’s death, she became more shut in & didn’t associate with many people. She ignored anyone trying to help her. Congressmen came to Emily’s house a few times & asked her to pay taxes but she refused. As the story went on, she ending up purchasing poison & killing a man she was quite fond of. Once she died, they later had found out that she killed the man & kept him in her upstairs room.
  • Characters: Emily - an old woman that was stubborn, Homer Barron - a man that was quite close with Emily, Tobe - Emily’s black slave, Townspeople - people living in the town
  • Vocab Words: Perpetuity - something that lasts forever, Cupolas - a small dome, Temerity - excessive confidence or boldness, Noblesse oblige - the inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged
  • Literary Devices: Simile - “…like a body long submerged in motionless water…”, Conflict - There was a nasty smell & then you find out Emily killed someone. “so they were not surprised when the smell developed.”, Theme - Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
  • A way to remember: Emily was very shut-in & then in the end she goes & kills someone that was nice to her.

A Pair of Silk Stockings

  • Summary: A woman, Mrs. Sommers, had been married and had 2 girls and some boys. They were all very poor. One day Mrs. Sommers found $15, she pondered all night and day on how she was going to spend the money. Would she get her children shoes, or get fabric to sew clothes back together? Before she married, she was rich and lived a lavish life style. Anytime she went shopping, she knew how to find a good bargain. She went shopping one day with her $15 and bought a pair of silk stockings for herself. She got engulfed in the lavish style again and started spending the money all on her (gloves, boots, lunch, and a movie/theater ticket). After the movie she got on a cable car and wished it would just drive forever.
  • Characters: Mrs. Sommers, her children, the women at the theatre, the man who sat across from her on the car
  • Vocab Words: Porte-monnaie (coin purse), Percale (a closely woven fine cotton or polyester fabric), Blotches (blushing), Fastidious (very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail)
  • Literary Devices: Bildungsroman (Mrs. Sommers learns to take care of herself and not just her family), Characterization (“She was fastidious.”) Conflict (she wanted to buy her kids what they wanted/needed but also wanted to get herself things) Theme (Treat yourself)
  • A way to remember: Silk stockings are very lavish (especially to poor people) and Mrs. Sommers got them for herself instead of her kids shoes

A Good Man is Hard to Find



  • Summary: A family is going on vacation. They are going to Florida but the grandmother wants to go to Tennessee because a prisoner had escaped in Florida. On the way to where they were going, the grandmother talked the kids into convincing the father to visit a house that she knew of. They went down the dirt road the grandmother said the house was on and the car flipped because the grandmother’s cat jumped onto the father who was driving. Another car came down the dirt road because they saw that the people had wrecked. It turned out to be the escape convict in the car. His friends killed the family while the grandmother tried to talk to him about Jesus and praying. He ended up killing her too.
  • Character List: Bailey; the Mom; the Grandmother; June Star; John Wesley; Red Sammy Butts; Red Sammy Butts’ wife; the Misfit; Bobby Lee; Hiram; Pitty Sing
  • Vocab List: Asphyxiate: kill by depriving them of air; Flogged: beat (someone) with a whip or stick as punishment or torture; Knack: an acquired or natural skill at performing a task; Nickelodeon: a jukebox, originally one operated by the insertion of a nickel coin; Organdy: a fine translucent cotton or silk fabric that is usually stiffened and used for women's clothing
  • Literary Devices: Realism- The events in this story are all things that normally happen. It starts out with a normal family going on a normal vacation. "She said she thought it was going to be a good day for driving, neither too hot nor too cold, and she cautioned Bailey that the speed limit was fifty-five miles an hour and that the patrolmen hid themselves behind billboards and small clumps of trees and sped out after you before you had a chance to slow down.” Naturalism- The grandmother trying to give reason to what the Misfit is doing by asking about his family life growing up is an example of naturalism. "I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!” Protagonist- The grandmother is the protagonist in the story because she is the main character and it is her that makes up most of the dialogue. "The grandmother said she would tell them a story if they would keep quiet."
  • A Way to Remember: the Misfit is not a good man

To Build a Fire


  • Short Summary: A man is journeying across the Yukon Trail to get to his friends. The temperature is 75 below. The man brings a dog with him, ignoring the old-timer’s advice about bringing another person with him since the weather is so bad. The man ends up falling into a hole & getting wet up to his waist. He tries to build a fire & warm up but almost every time he does, he fails. The man debates on wether he should kill the dog to keep warm or not, but he decides not to. The man ends up dying because of hypothermia & the dog lives to make it back to his original home.
  • Character List: The man - He was stubborn & smart, The dog - He was very smart, The old-timer - Gave good advice but the man didn’t take it
  • Vocab. Words: Mincingly - someone who is being especially dainty or refined, Sidled - walk in a furtive, unobtrusive, or timid manner, Hoss - a southern colloquial nickname for partner, a term of friendship, Conflagration - a war or conflict, or a large fire that destroys a lot
  • Literary Devices: Characterization - “The man’s red beard and moustache were likewise frosted, but more solidly, the deposit taking the form of ice and increasing with every warm, moist breath he exhaled.” Theme - Self-reliance is nice but take others advice. “The old-timer on Sulfur Creek was right, he thought in the moment of controlled despair that ensued: After fifty below, a man should travel with a partner.“ Conflict - The extreme cold. "The frozen moisture of its breathing had settled on its fur in a fine powder of frost, and especially were its jowls, muzzle, and eyelashes whitened by its crystaled breath. The man’s red beard and moustache were likewise frosted, but more solidly, the deposit taking the form of ice and increasing with every warm, moist breath he exhaled.”
  • A Way to Remember: He couldn’t build a fire & tried to kill the dog.