Arabic romantic short stories became popular in the 1930s and 40s. Arab writers focused on many different themes that were specific to the area they were writing from. Due to the British occupation of Egypt writers there focused their stories on anti-imperialism. Egyptian writers were also enthralled with their surrounding nature and encompassed that into their stories. With the rise of female writers in Syria the life of women became a popular subject along with patriotism. The sad state of events in Palestine caused Palestinian romantic writers to focus on the abundant suffering around them. They tried to humanize the Palestinian problem and focus on the loss of their homeland. Lebanese writers were very attached to their homeland and wrote heavily about it. Emigration was a problem facing the Lebanese population and often writers abroad focused on their nostalgia for the homeland.
The realistic short story became popular around the same time as romantic writing. The rise of realism can be attributed to a larger number of literate middle class Arabs, a rise in nationalism, and a general rise in the amount of writing available. Arab realism was not a specific period of writing and it did not have a specific manifesto. Arab realism was dynamic and encompassed many different themes. Writers attempted to tell the story of the lower class and focused of comparing urban life to rural life. During this period there was a new interest in writing about the events of everyday life. The decades of the 1960s and 70s drastically impacted the realistic writings of the Arab world. The wars with Israel, deteriorating situation in Palestine, and the constant political and economic instability in the region brought about a more melancholy tone to the writing. Authors began to reflect back on the ‘good old days’.