An analysis of the short story “Trio for Four Voices” by Jane McLaughlin reveals that it follows a chronological plot structure. The action relies heavily on a feeling of tension, which seems to rise throughout the story. 

The main character is the unnamed narrator. While we do not know the narrator’s gender, the fact that Amelia offers her pink roses could hint that the narrator is a woman. 

Conflicts are important in the story, for example, the external conflict between Amelia and her mother, which apparently turns out to be false.

The setting of the story is a hotel in Spain, somewhere between Malaga and Arcos. The social setting deals with family, travelling, and how privileged people consider it acceptable to take advantage of others.

Regarding narrative technique, the story is told from the point of view of a first-person narrator. In this way, the ending surprises readers as much as it surprises the narrator.

The style of language is formal, especially in the narrative, with only a few contractions. The narrative is mixed with dialogue, which is also quite formal. There are also many descriptions, adding to the atmosphere.

You can read a more detailed analysis in the following sections.

Further help

For more advice about analyzing short stories, you can read our general guide to short story analysis.