Short Stories About Perception and Perspective

These stories will show characters perceiving the same events differently, perceiving others in a particular way, relating things from their own perspective or things that the reader perceives differently, or changing perspective as they learn more or mature.

See also Appearances | Illusion vs Reality

See also Time

These stories might interest an avid reader, or might be suitable short stories for middle school kids.

Snow | Ann Beattie

A woman remembers the time she was with her lover in the country. She realizes that he interpreted the same events differently.

Panikhida | Anton Chekhov

After a church service, Andrei Andreich, a shopkeeper, is accosted by Father Grigory. Andreich’s daughter had recently died, and the priest is upset over the way Andreich described her in his commemoration.

Read “Panikhida”

Haircut | Ring Lardner

A barber talks about the local practical joker after he was recently killed.

Read “Haircut”

Night Club | Katharine Brush

A maid in a night club attends to the women’s washroom, helping the customers and getting a glimpse of their lives.

Read “Night Club”

Sex Education | Dorothy Canfield

Aunt Minnie tells a story of something frightening that happened in her youth. She tells it three times, spaced several years apart, with a changing perspective on what happened.

Read here

A Woman on a Roof | Doris Lessing

During a heat wave, a young woman suns herself on the top of a building. On a nearby roof top, three men are working. They all have different reactions to her.

Read “A Woman on a Roof”

Fat and Thin | Anton Chekhov

Two men – schoolmates as boys – meet unexpectedly at a train station and are delighted to see each other. They talk about their lives; one bit of information changes the thin man’s view of his old friend.

Read here

The Hitchhiking Game | Milan Kundera

A young couple is driving together on the first day of their vacation. The woman is shy and “pure”, while the man is confident with women and has had many casual relationships. When she gets back in the car after a stop, they start to role play a hitchhiker game. It opens her up, changing her boyfriend’s view of her.

Read here

Bread | Margaret Atwood

The narrator tells the reader to imagine a piece of bread in a few vastly different situations.

Read “Bread”

20/20 | Linda Brewer

Bill and Ruthie are on a road trip. Bill finds her conversation simplistic; she refuses to argue anything.

Read “20/20”

Ghost Boy | Elinor Nash

Jake is a young teenager who is focused on the sounds in his home. He perceives his mother, father, and sister in an unusual way. He suffered a bike accident which has affected him a great deal.

Read “Ghost Boy”

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.

The Stone Boy | Gina Berriault

Early one morning, nine-year-old Arnold goes out with his fifteen-year-old brother Eugie to pick peas. Arnold takes his gun with him to shoot ducks. As he passes through a fence, his gun gets stuck; he jerks it free, causing it to go off.

Read “The Stone Boy”

I will try to add more stories about perception and perspective that could be helpful for teaching reading and reading comprehension to middle and high school students. Eventually, I hope these pages will become a teaching resource.