The short story “The Twins” by Muriel Spark is structured around two visits paid by an unnamed narrator to the family of her former school friend, Jennie. The narrator visits the family twice: the first time is when Jennie’s twins are five-years-old and the second time is when the twins are twelve-years-old. In total, there are six unsettling episodes that come across as tension points in the story. Although the episodes seem to be simple misunderstandings between adults, the reader has the impression that the twins have orchestrated the events just for fun, to make adults confront each other.
“The Twins” lacks the traditional structure of short stories, which we call plot. Besides the exposition and the open resolution, there is no rising action, falling action or climax. The story is comprised of several episodes that function as tension points, which we will describe below.
The title of the short story is quite simple and revealing. Readers are under the impression that the story is going to be about twins who are going to function as the most...