If we’re lucky in the Opinion section, we work through our beliefs completely and support them with great arguments. But sometimes, we don’t need a deeper reason to hold our convictions. Rapid Fire is for those tweet-length takes that can be explained in just a sentence or two — no more justification needed.
In this Rapid Fire, writers gave their opinions on the question: What’s the most out of pocket short story you were forced to read in high school?
Madeline Papcun, Opinion Editor: Definitely “The Box Social,” the less you know about it going in, the better. Without giving too much away, it’s so carefully written but also so wild plot-wise, giving off a sense of being meticulous and also unhinged simultaneously. Special shoutout to “The Yellow Wallpaper” though – she’s just like me for real.
Owen Silverman, Weekly Columnist: “The Lottery” is perhaps the easy answer. I still remember the looks of terror on everyone’s faces in my AP Lit class once we turned to the final pages. I won’t spoil anything, but all I can say is poor Tessie; she’s really left between a rock and a hard place.
Dan Stark, Opinion Contributor: I would have to go with Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt.” The downfall of the children from watching the virtual reality scenes in the nursery to lashing out against their parents was pretty disturbing. I won’t reveal the ending, but I remember having to do a double take when I first read it to understand its true darkness.
Emma Dutil, Opinion Contributor: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor is terrifying as it makes you question moral codes and which character is the most morally sound. One of those stories that once you finish you have to go back and reread all of the little details once you know the ending.
Nell Srinath, Associate Opinion Editor: I still have the chilling memory of reading “Barbe Bleue,” or “Bluebeard” in high school French class. The story begins with the marriage between a young woman and a nobleman at the center of six mysterious disappearances. I’d encourage you to read the rest of the synopsis on Wikipedia and imagine experiencing that cero à cent transition in a language that you have a baby’s grasp on. My ultimate takeaway, though, is that sometimes you have to girlboss at any girl-cost.
Sam Zelin, Managing Editor: Ok, so I’ve been told I kind of have to justify this one, but I think that “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck is a totally out of pocket short story. Sure, it’s a whole book, but it’s a short book, and a book is a story. I think it counts. Plus, even if you’re going to argue with me that it’s not short, it is certainly out of pocket. RIP Lennie.