“There’s one,” she said, pointing.
“Where?” she said. “I don’t believe you.”
“Right over there,” she insisted. “Look at him.”
She looked. “Well,” she said after a moment, “I suppose you’re right.”
“It was a little difficult to find him,” she said, not wanting to rub it in.
“A little,” she agreed.
“But the important thing is that we found him.”
“We sure did,” she said.
– A Good Man Is Hard To Find, Flannery O’Connor
“Why, today is a perfect day for bananafish,” he told the little girl. “But it’s also a perfect day for people.” Later, he talked about his feelings with his fiancé, and didn’t shoot himself.
– A Perfect Day For Bananafish, J.D. Salinger
“Which one should we get?” she asked him.
“Well, what do you think?” he said.
“Can I pick any of them?”
“Of course,” he said. “We’re choosing this wallpaper together, and I would never lock you up. Both of us are free to use any of the rooms in our house, even though it’s the 1800s.”
“In that case,” she said, “I like the yellow one best.”
“I agree,” he said. So that’s the one they bought. Later they both went outside, because they were both allowed to.
– The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“Gosh, I’m hungry,” he said suddenly, putting down his paintbrush. “I am one hungry artist.”
“You should probably eat something,” the model said without turning her head. “I don’t mind waiting.”
“I’m so hungry,” he said. “Maybe the hungriest artist out of all of them.”
“Really, go ahead and get something,” she said. “I don’t mind.”
“They should call me the hunger artist,” he said, and they both laughed at his little joke.
“That was funny,” the model said, “but hunger is no joke.”
“You’re right,” the artist said. “I’ll be right back. Can I get you anything?”
“No,” the model said, relaxing from her pose for a minute, because she didn’t have to hold the pose if he was going to run out and get a bite to eat, “but thanks very much for asking.”
“It’s no problem at all,” he said. “After all, I’m hungry, not thoughtless.”
They both laughed again. Later, he started painting again, only now he wasn’t hungry anymore, so Hunger Artist was no longer an apt description. Just artist.
– A Hunger Artist, Franz Kafka
“Please don’t touch that,” his mother said. “That’s the monkey’s paw. Everyone has a right to control their own body.” All the children learned an important lesson about autonomy that day.
– The Monkey’s Paw, W.W. Jacobs
“You’ve won,” the host announced. “You’ve won it all, Rockinghorse.” Everyone crowded around the Rockinghorse and cheered him for winning.
“Gosh,” the Rockinghorse said. “I’ve never felt quite so much like a winner before.”
“You were always a winner,” the crowd said. And for the first time, he believed it.
– The Rockinghorse Winner, D.H. Lawrence
The tin roof made merry plashing sounds all afternoon. Not so rainy that they couldn’t have gone out, but it was nice to stay in and listen to the sounds all the same.
– There Will Come Soft Rains, Ray Bradbury
“What a nice fire,” he said to himself. It certainly was. Kept him very warm, too.
– To Build A Fire, Jack London
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.