William Sydney Porter ( O. Henry

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If you “write what you like [and believe that] there is no other rule,” you might agree with the lifestyle of William Sydney Porter (O. Henry). William wrote many great short stories, concerning different aspects of his life, under the pen name O. Henry. He wrote his stories in the literary period and style of Realism. He focused on topics that brought to light the reality of the world in a fictive sense. There were no fairy lands in his stories, there was, instead, the very real slums of big cities, with a hint of fictional storytelling. His life in the poor side of New York combined with the 3 years he spent in prison influenced O. Henry’s writing to capture the simplicity yet complexity of life. He also excelled in showcasing the lives of the poor lower-class on paper. O. Henry’s life was not an easy one. After trying and failing to make a living by writing sketches in Texas, he became a reporter for the Houston Post; until, he was indicted as a suspect of embezzling money from a bank (Columbia Encyclopedia). In order to avoid prison, O. Henry fled to Honduras, where he stayed until he heard news that his wife was deathly ill. He returned to Texas, and was imprisoned after the death of his wife. He remained in prison for 3 years, working on his writings and compiling a volume of his short stories. When it was discovered that the supposed embezzlement was a result of technical mismanagement, O. Henry was released from prison. He then moved to New York, where he spent the rest of his life. O. Henry pioneered in picturing the lives of lower-class and middle-class New Yorkers (Columbia Encyclopedia). He took up this challenge because of the claim, by socialite Ward McAllister, that “only 400 people in New York were really worth ... ... middle of paper ... ...om the story that O. Henry never knew what to expect from people. Della found that, “It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for [receiving from Jim]” (Gift of the Magi). People act and react in different inexplicable ways, O. Henry probably learned this by watching the people in his environment. Unexpected things happen in life, and O. Henry tries to explain this in “The Gift of the Magi”. O. Henry gained a great understanding of life through his experience with it and choose to share what he learned with the world by writing his short stories. Maybe they won’t be written into scripture and maybe they won’t make New York’s best seller list, but O. Henry’s short stories capture a side of life that is difficult to comprehend. What twisting, ironic, or humorous event will life throw at us next?

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