Thoughtful Stories

Sometimes a story can teach much more than entire philosophical treatises.

May you learn and enjoy.

Dante and the Lobster | Samuel Beckett

Before visiting his aunt for supper, a man goes about his daily errands. He brings lobster with him, but is surprised that it’s still alive.

This story asserts the futility and meaninglessness of life.

The Ones who walk away from the Omelas | Ursula K. Le Guin

The citizens of Omelas are happy, but the narrator is vague as to what exactly they have which makes them so. However, the people’s happiness depends on one thing, which all the citizens are aware of.

This story illustrates a moral dilemma based on William James’s pragmatism


 Three Questions | Leo Tolstoy

A king wants the answers to three very important questions. He finds a wise hermit who helps him discover the answers.

This is a parable that offers a philosophy for living.

The Aleph | Jorge Luis Borges

After the death of the woman he loves, the narrator begins visiting her father. The father claims there’s a point in his cellar, an aleph, which contains all other points in space.

This deals with the concept of infinity.


The Wall | Jean-Paul Satre

Pablo is accused of being a war criminal. He is held in a cell with two other men. They are all informed they will be executed. They each deal with the news differently.

This story illustrates Sartre’s existentialism.


Memnon the Philosopher | Voltaire

Memnon decides to become a great philosopher by rejecting all passions including love, intemperance, and quarreling.


I Bought a Little City | Donald Barthelme

The narrator buys Galveston, Texas with the intention of creating a utopian society. He thought it would be easy to make the citizens happy, but finds that no matter what he does someone is upset about it.

The Library of Babel | Jorge Luis Borges

The narrator’s universe is a room containing every possible book. Most of them are complete nonsense, but it must also contain all the world’s wisdom and accurate prophecy.



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