Samuel Beckett Short Stories

Samuel Beckett was an Irish writer best known for his novels and plays, particularly the play Waiting for Godot. Some recurring Beckett themes include insanity, living passively, aimlessness, communication difficulties and the meaninglessness of life. His protagonists often lead bleak and isolated lives. His writing is commonly classified as theatre of the absurd. Beckett also wrote some short stories and sketches. They tend to have the same themes as his longer works and they can be difficult to understand.

Short Stories by Samuel Beckett

“First Love”

A man is left some money after his father’s death. He assumed he would continue to live in the family home and get his meals as well, but this wasn’t stipulated in the will. He wanted to stay, even offering to tend the hothouse as a contribution, but the others didn’t want him there. While he was in the bathroom, they put his belongings outside and locked him out. He met his future wife shortly after, and associates his father’s death with his marriage.

“The End”

A man is dressed by three attendants in some clothes that are slightly small for him. They’ve decided he’s well enough now and he has to go. He’d rather stay here with his familiar bed and the stool where he would sit all afternoon. He’s given some money and told not to return or go to any of their affiliate locations. He tries to stay in the cloister while it rains, but he’s eventually ordered to move on. He sets out into the unfamiliar city with no particular destination in mind.


An artist of some kind doesn’t speak much and when he does, whispers. Nevertheless, his performance affects the audience. Alone in the silence of his room, he’s afraid of the potential for sound.

“One Evening”

An old woman looking for yellow wildflowers finds a man lying facedown with his arms out. No one is looking for him and no one has missed him. He’s wearing a long, warm coat although it’s not cold.

“Dante and the Lobster”

It’s midday and Belacqua plans his activities. He’s going to prepare and eat lunch, pick up a lobster to bring to his aunt, and go to his Italian lesson. He needs tranquility and solitude to prepare his lunch or the whole experience is ruined. He starts by locking the door and begins his careful routine of toasting his bread on the grill.

Read “Dante and the Lobster”