Short Stories About Redemption

These stories have characters who achieve redemption or there’s a strong possibility that they could.

“Sticks” by George Saunders

A father has a pole in his yard that he dresses according to the occasion. He’s a stingy man and his family lives on edge. (Summary & Analysis)

This is the second story in the preview of Tenth of December: Stories.

“The Spinoza of Market Street” by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Dr. Fichelson, a philosopher, lives by the rationalist teachings of Spinoza. He lives on a small income after being fired from his post as librarian at a synagogue, due to his views, which contradict Jewish doctrine.

Some of this story can be read in the preview of The Spinoza of Market Street and Other Stories.

“Another Time” by Edna O’Brien

Nelly, feeling a great mental strain, leaves London for a seaside resort. She hopes to experience some sort of redemption. The reality of the trip soon sets in—a shabby hotel with a disappointing view, and people she’d like to avoid.

“The Bishop’s Silver” by Victor Hugo

While in town running errands, Madame Magloire, the housekeeper, hears about a vagabond who’s been spotted and is probably up to no good. She tells the bishop but he seems unconcerned. There’s  a loud knock at the door. A tired but fierce looking man enters. Madame Magloire and Mademoiselle Baptistine, the bishop’s sister, are frightened. The man is a convict, released only four days ago. He can’t find an inn that will take him due to his past. He’s looking for a place to stay the night.

This story is an excerpt from the novel Les Misérables. 

“Redemption” by John Gardner

Young Jack Hawthorn accidentally runs over and kills his brother with a tractor and cultipacker (a machine that crushes and smooths the ground) on their farm. Each member of the family tries to come to terms with the death.

“The Legend of the Christmas Rose” by Selma Lagerlöf

The Robber family lives in a cave in the Göinge forest. The father is an outlaw and can’t go in to the village, so he robs travelers. The mother begs in the village with the five children. The people give, fearing repercussions if they refuse. On one trip, she calls at the monks’ cloister. She walks through their garden, and finds it pretty, but it doesn’t compare to another garden she knows of. She tells Abbot Hans and his assistant about it.

“The Magic Barrel” by Bernard Malamud

Leo Finkle, studying to be a rabbi, hears that being married would improve his job prospects. He consults a matchmaker, but is concerned about the commercial nature of the venture and wonders whether love plays any part in it. He has an important realization about himself during the matchmaking process.

Read “The Magic Barrel”

“The No-Guitar Blues” by Gary Soto

Fausto wants a guitar more than anything. When he finds a lost dog, he is sure there will be reward money that he can use for a guitar, especially if he embellishes the story.

Read “The No-Guitar Blues”