This selection addresses the themes that Akutagawa often muses about. The path to happiness is about overcoming one's destiny. The stories vary greatly in scope, from the grotesque and bizarre "Hell Screen" that concerns a cruel master painting and his efforts to depict a perfect replication of Hell only to experience Hell itself in life; through to the light and heart-warming tale of "Tangerines" and a metaphysical dissuasion against self preservation portrayed in "A Spider's Thread". In all the stories, Akutagawa demostrates an almost perfect ability to tell a story. It is a complete pleasure to read his light but piercing prose. Devoid of the unnecessery, these stories have pinpoint precision at bringing the reader to the message that Akutagawa wishes to portray.