These short stories focus on the value and expectations of community, along with the importance of personal connection and friendship.
They could also feature characters who are searching for connection and community.
They can be compared with Loneliness/Isolation/Alienation
A Newspaper Story | O. Henry
The movement of a daily newspaper is tracked, along with the uses it is put to.
Price’s Always Open | John O’Hara
Mr. Price runs an all-night diner. His place is frequented by students, locals and out-of-towners, who break off into a few small groups.
That Summer | Safia Moore
The narrator remembers a summer he was sure someone would die. He is outside with Ivan when Noel comes by asking if they want to see Mrs. Walsh topless. The Walsh’s were the only Catholic family in their Protestant neighbourhood.
Read “That Summer” (Page 12)
Seventy Thousand Assyrians | William Saroyan
An Armenian man is always on the lookout for fellow Armenians – a generous estimate says there are only two million in the world. He strikes up a conversation with a barber who is Assyrian.
The Plague Children | Jack Hodgins
A small town’s farms are invaded by a group of young people who pick hallucinogenic mushrooms from their land. The townspeople try everything to keep their property private.
A Small, Good Thing | Raymond Carver
A mother and father are preparing for their son’s eighth birthday. The son gets hit by a car on his way to school one morning, but seems all right and makes his way home. Shortly after, he loses consciousness.
Great Day | David Malouf
The Tyler family gathers to celebrate the seventy-second birthday of its patriarch, Audley.
The Green Door | O. Henry
A man is handed a card on the street for “The Green Door”. He locates the door and knocks.
The Way We Live Now | Susan Sontag
An unnamed man is showing symptoms of a disease, which turns out to be AIDS. His friends visit him in the hospital. They try to cheer him up, and they talk about his progress and behavior among themselves.
B. Wordsworth | V. S. Naipaul
In a poor area in Spain, in the 1940’s, a young boy lives with his mother. An unusual, older man comes by and asks if he can watch the bee’s in the family’s yard. They talk for a while and a friendship develops.
Dear Marsha | Judie Angell
During summer vacation, Martha starts corresponding with a pen pal, Anne Marie. They talk about their difficulties and have a lot in common.
One Autumn Night | Maxim Gorky
A man arrives in town without money or any acquaintances in the area. He goes looking for food, and comes across a woman in a similar situation.
Great Moves | Sandy Asher
Annie has been asked to the Valentine’s Day dance by the two most popular boys at school and she can’t decide who to go with. When they approach her friend, Brenda, for advice they turn their attention to her, with both boy’s now wanting to go with Brenda.
Yellow Woman | Leslie Marmon Silko
A young, married Pueblo Indian woman leaves home and has an affair with a Navajo man who lives in the mountains. She speaks of an old story from her people of a mountain spirit who abducts women; she suggests that is what happened to her in this case.
Keeping Company | Claire Kemp
William doesn’t want his wife, Nora, to keep company with anyone but him. One day two men, James and Dennis, move in next door. They strike up a friendship, and Nora gets together with them when her husband is out.
Accident | Dave Eggers
“You” get out of your car after a traffic accident after you ruined a Camaro carrying three teenagers. You’re worried about how they’re going to react.
Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr | Miguel de Unamuno
Don Emmanuel is the priest of a small village. He is loved and respected by everyone, and does many things to help the community. A man who had left the village years ago for America returns, bringing atheistic ideas with him. This man has many talks with Don Emmanuel.
The Eatonville Anthology | Zora Neale Hurston
In fourteen short vignettes we meet some of the residents of Eatonville, Florida. It is a small African-American community. The anecdotes are often humorous, describing the eccentricities, perceptions, crimes, entertainments, and tall-tales of the townspeople.
A Work of Art | Anton Chekhov
A doctor saves the life of a boy, the only son of his mother. They are poor bronze dealers, so they have no money to pay. To express their deep gratitude, the boy presents the doctor with an antique bronze work of art. It’s not to the doctor’s taste.
Mrs. Cross and Mrs. Kidd
Mrs. Cross and Mrs. Kidd live at Hilltop Home, a nursing facility. They have known each other for eighty years. They have stayed fairly close, even though there are many differences between them. Their daily routine changes with the arrival of a new resident, Jack, a fifty-nine-year-old who can’t speak due to a stroke.
Invitations | Carol Shields
On Monday the narrator receives an invitation to an art exhibition. She is pleased and thinks about what she will wear. On Tuesday she receives an invitation to a cocktail party for the same evening.
Telemachus, Friend | O. Henry
Telemachus Hicks tells the story of his mutilated left ear, which he claims is a relic of true friendship. He spent all his time with his best friend Paisley Fish. When they meet the Widow Jessup they are both attracted to her. The make a pact that they will court her fairly and equally, and that it won’t interfere with their friendship.