Life doesn’t come with a manual. A short story detailing how some people lived through some of the worst atrocities and challenges is the best we get, and sometimes, that’s all the manual you will need. Famine, war, loss of any nature, depression, not feeling fulfilled by the path you have chosen, and even the inability to make friends are some of the challenges of modern times. Life gets lonely when you think no one understands what you have been through enough to relate, but maybe what you haven’t done yet is read other people’s struggles and how they overcame them.
Why are challenges an important part of life? You haven’t lived until you have jumped through some hoops. They say calm seas never make good sailors, so it makes sense that an eventful life leads you to the best version of yourself depending on how you respond. When life deals you a terrible hand, you get two options: to run or face them. If you choose to face and fight through, you realize you have the power within you to do more than your brain could ever imagine.
Authors of short stories for high school and others allow you to live vicariously through them. Though some parts of these stories may be made up for effect, you get a peek at the other side that might actually get you through the toughest time of your life.
Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami
The men in this book are a sad bunch. They have lost their women to different causes, so the writer paints a gloomy picture of each of them. Not only is this easy to read for any level, but it also has the ideal paper samples in short stories for students because each chapter – and they are all pleasantly short – leaves you wondering about your happiness. They are like any essay about life challenges where the reader is taken into the life of the subject and made to feel their emptiness. The one theme repeated in all the stories is the relatability of these characters. Each of these men could easily be your brother or male friend.
The stories are so relatable because these characters are not the most eccentric or unreachable. Actually, you may align a story with a person known to you. The style is easy, and this book should catch the attention of a Ph.D. student, too, since it is so interesting and relatable. There are no heroes in these stories, just people that learned to live with their situations. We do not get solutions; just nods to whatever we are going through and the feeling that we are not alone.
Cell One – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This story is derived from “That Thing Around Your Neck”, which tells stories on politics, family, marriage, and society. The center of this particular chapter is on equality between siblings and how parents relate to their kids, which is relatable to anyone with parents or siblings. Whether you are a graduate or a teen in any grade in high school, you will have things to say about those that share your house when you live at home.
Cell One is a relatively short and easy read, so you can start and finish in a few hours. Most students don’t care for long, complex reads. This story explains how parents choose to turn a blind eye on their favorite kids, and in the process, make them the worst they can. Choosing not to see when one errs gives them the right to become a nuisance to everyone they encounter for the rest of their lives.
Once – Morris Gleitzman
Set in Nazi-infested Europe, this is the tale of a young Jewish boy traversing Poland searching for his parents. Gleitzman holds nothing back as he tells the tales of those who lived in one of the most painful periods in the history of the world. It would appeal to a degree student or someone in the course of their diploma because of the richness of the stories that solidify some of the things we read in history books.
Though this one is fictional, the events happened, and almost every part of this piece is heart-wrenching. Readers are left with remorse and resentment for those who hurt others for reasons they have little control over. In this book, you go through all the feels – from resentment to the courage to speak out for the downtrodden. Perhaps the heaviest lesson you’ll take from this book is to always remember that in the face of evil, you will find what you need to get by if you look deep inside enough. It also reminds us to be kind even in a world full of evil.
How to Be an Other Woman – Lorrie Moore
When the words ‘other woman’ are mentioned, most people think of infidelity, one of the labels that Moore addresses in her collection, Self-Help, where this particular piece is from. What makes it interesting?
The tales Moore tells while hilariously mocking self-help books. This is not exactly one to read for an exam or faculte discussion, but it enriches a reader’s mind with the realities of life. You learn of mistakes you are likely to make in your career, and when you dig into the humor, you will find solutions to life’s challenges. You will also be challenged to be less judgy of others, something all of us could use.
Each short story with moral lessons is an incentive for those going through challenging times in their lives. These stories will either change how you see society or push you to address some of your shortcomings. Most students need to write an essay more than once a term for their coursework, and such stories will give them something challenging to work with. The learning in these stories does not end at the library: it continues in life if you are keen when reading them for your class. It also makes your contribution in conversations rich when you meet with other people outside of school.