An analysis of the short story “Trash” by Souvankham Thammavongsa shows that the story has a fairly chronological structure despite being one big flashback. The story presents events that happened sometime in the past and reflects the hindsight within which the narrator now views her first meeting with her mother-in-. 

The main character is the unnamed narrator of humble background who talks about meeting Miss Emily, her demanding mother-in-law. The story revolves around the two women’s tense relationship and the conflict between them. 

The story has different settings which have different meanings for the characters. For example, the supermarket is a symbol of safety and loyalty for the narrator, while her mother-in-law seems to think it symbolizes working class or a lack of ambition. 

The story has a first-person narrator, who is also the main character. The narrator’s point of view helps readers experience her emotions first-hand and empathize with her. 

The story’s language mirrors the narrator’s admiration for her mother-in-law, but also Miss Emily’s contempt for her son’s wife. Furthermore, several symbols help deepen our understanding of the characters and the theme of the story. 

You can read a full analysis of the short story on the following pages. 


Short story analysis

I denne vejledning får du Studienets hjælp til at analysere noveller (short stories) i engelsk.