Collected Stories Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Collected Stories.
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Karma

The idea of retribution as a natural consequence of causing another pain or suffering (karma) appears throughout many of these stories. A bizarre and humorous example is "William and Mary", about an instructor at Oxford University who is a judgmental, controlling and demeaning presence to his wife. William, a compulsive neurotic, lays down all sorts of rules that he expects his wife, Mary, to follow. Among the list of forbidden pleasures is smoking; anything that seems to bring Mary pleasure is quickly added to the list. She suffers greatly because of her husband. Faced with a swift and certain demise, William agrees with a surgeon friend to let him remove his brain at the moment of death and keep it alive—with one eye stalk—in a nourishing solution inside a glass beaker. The surgeon summons Mary to his lab to see William's remains. She peers...

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This section contains 1,308 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Collected Stories Study Guide
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