3. Discussion of a short story

Transcript item

Hello, and welcome to our mini reading club! So, you know when you're reading something and you're thinking, 'This is amazing! I need to talk to someone about this!' Or maybe sometimes you're confused and you're like, 'Huh? I don't get it. I've got questions.' So what you need in those moments is another person, or people, who have read the same story to talk to. And that's exactly what we're going to do here. So go and read the short story. It's called True Beauty. I'm not going to tell you anything about it now, but it's only probably about ten minutes' reading. So go and read it! There are two different levels, so make sure you choose the best level for you, and then come back here for the discussion. So it's going to be really interesting to hear what you thought of the story and share ideas with other learners. So, happy reading and I'm looking forward to seeing you back here for some interesting discussion.

Welcome to our reading club! In this step, you can read and discuss a short story called True Beauty with other learners.

On this page, spoilers are allowed! :) In the comments, we're going to be talking about the characters, the message of the story and what we thought of it. 

So, before we discuss the story, please take a few minutes to read it. You might also want to do the exercises to help you with understanding.

What do you think?

  • How would you describe the characters at the beginning of the story? What makes you think that?
  • What message does the story have about social media? Do you agree?
  • Did you like the story? Tell us what you thought!

Replying to other users' comments is a great way to practise interaction and conversation skills. Press 'reply' to write a reply to a comment that you find interesting! 


Average: 5 (4 votes)

Submitted by Nakeme on Thu, 02/05/2024 - 14:25


This story about new technologies is quite interesting.

Through the example of Steph and Matt, it shows the impact of social media on our lives : whatever message or image we decide to post, that can trigger reactions and comments that will convey responses with positive or negative and even threatning words in some cases.

In this short story, the app "True Beauty" is used as a way to address this message : the most important is not on the outside- rather, thruth, authenticity and honesty lie on the inside.

And being a social media fanatic, you better be careful not to loose the sense of reality.

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Submitted by maceciliaherrera93 on Wed, 01/05/2024 - 18:48


At the beginning of the story, Steph and Matt are depicted as typical social media users who are heavily influenced by the images and lifestyles portrayed on their feeds. Their descriptions based on their actions and the content of their social media posts make me think that their obsession for their image and reliance on social media was for validation and self-worth.

The message that the story has is about the pitfalls of relying too heavily on social media for validation and self-esteem. It suggests that the quest for perfection can lead to disappointment and a distorted sense of reality and the message seems to be that true beauty comes from being authentic and genuine (both online and in real life), so I agree with this message as it encourages people to value themselves beyond the superficial standards often promoted on internet.

I enjoyed the story a lot, because it offers a thought-provoking commentary on the impact of social media on our lives. It serves as a reminder to prioritize authenticity and self-acceptance over seeking validation from others, and about the importance of inner beauty and genuine connections.

Submitted by laurapaci on Fri, 19/05/2023 - 17:19


the funny thing is that an application showed them how social addicted they were! But in the end it makes sense: as they lost their contact with reality, the only chance to be reached out had to be from the inside...sometimes I'm so happy to be a boomer, and that's one of those times. So happy to be the neighbor!

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Submitted by Andres Felipe … on Wed, 26/04/2023 - 00:13


What I learn about that story is that not every picture needs filter to look good, I mean, if anybody has a good resolution camera and a place with lots of lights, there are possibilities that the natural picture can look good.

Submitted by User_1 on Mon, 17/04/2023 - 15:18


In this short story, I have been struck by repeated expressions:
"There was no point eating it now that it was cold."
"There was almost no point being fit..."
"What was the point of anything any more?"
Could I ask the team when this kind of phrase is used?
Thanks a lot.

Hi User_1,

Well spotted! The word "point" in these sentences means something like "purpose", "usefulness" or "meaning". When you want to say that an action is useless or futile, it's quite common to say something like:

  • There's no point ...
  • I can't see the point of ...
  • What's the point (of ...)?

For example: There's no point going to the train station now. We've already missed the last train.

I hope that helps to understand it! What did you think of the story?


LearnEnglish team

Hi Jonathan,
Thanks for your explanation.
About the story, I was struck by this sentence: the picture looked perfect with that filter.
It seems like everything is better if a filter fixes it instead of being natural, and unfortunately, nowadays it is this way.
And you? What did you think of the story?

Hi User_1,

I liked it! Sometimes I do see people like the characters in the story, who do things basically just for the photo. For example, I sometimes see people who order food in a café and take photos but barely touch the food. The story does a good job of showing what they are missing!

I definitely prefer real and unfiltered photos. But then again, that's very easy for me to say as I don't have a big social media presence. If I did, I might see things differently.


LearnEnglish team

Hi Jonathan,
Thanks for your reply.

I agree with you: the story shows what they are missing, and for me it is the same about the social media presence as well.