Frank Stockton's The Lady Or The Tiger: Summary

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In “The Lady or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton, a question about two doors leaves endless possibilities for debates and showcases the many different traits a person can possess. When facing the choice between a lady or a tiger, personalities and interpretation of human habits are revealed. In reference to the story, Stockton says the decision helps “... you find out what kind of a person you are yourself” (304). Stockton’s quote is often interpreted as the decision made based from the story is what would be chosen in real life by the decision maker. However, looking deeper at the quote shows that the question actually displays the thought process and practicality of the decision maker. In “The Lady or the Tiger”, the question of what a choice can reveal about decision-making processes and how a person thinks is intended to be ambiguous and never have a clear answer. Since the question is presented right away, facts must be gathered and analyzed to determine a decision while deciphering what the author is asking in the title. The question raises reflection on how a choice was made and divulges on thought process and personal speculation about…show more content…
Once the choice is made, it reveals characteristics and a detailed insight into the thought process of decision maker. The inconclusive question is intentionally unanswered to ensure that there cannot be a right or wrong statement. The question itself can be misinterpreted by its answer being understood as only exposing what decision maker would choose themselves because of their opinion on the outcome of the princess’ choice. “The Lady or the Tiger” provides a literal reference to the critic Roland Barthes’ quote that “Literature is the question minus the answer”. Without the ambiguous question presented right away in the title, the short story would have no true meaning or theme behind its
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