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Oh What an Ironic World William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry, was widely known for his short stories. He is often reffered to as the "Master of Short Stories." His stories were filled with twist and irony within the plot. "Some have called him the American Maupassant because of his so well made surprising endings" (Online). In 1908 critic Henry James Forman wrote that "No talent could be more original or more delightful. The combination of technical excellence with whimsical, sparkling wit, abundant humor and a fertile invention is so rare that the reader is content without comparisons" (Nextext Online). O. Henry also used reoccuring themes in his stories such as love above everything else. Authors of short stories use elements of style to make their stories interesting. There are many elements of style used by authors. Irony and theme are often used in short stories. This is clearly shown in O. Henry’s short stories such as“The Gift of the Magi,” “The Lickpenny Lover,” and “Ships.” The short stories of O. Henry use the element of theme to bring about ironic endings. An example of O.Henry's use of irony is shown in the short story "The Gift of the Magi". In this story Jim and Dell were newlyweds. They were extremely poor, however they had an emense amount of love for each other. It was Christmas, and although they had decided not to exchange presents, each wanted to give the other a gift. Jim sold his beloved pocket watch so that he could buy combs for Dell to wear in her beautiful long hair. Dell cut her hair and sold it so that she could buy a chain and fob for Jim's pocket watch. As they exchanged the gifts and saw the price of the gift each had given, that which was most dear to them, they realized that they have gave up in order to show their love for each other was what was neccessary to complete the gift. Theme is also used in “The Gift of the Magi.” There are elements of theme throughout the entire story. One example of theme in the story is that poverty affected both the main characters Jim and Della. Jim and Della both lived in a poor neighborhood with very little money. They both wanted to get each other a very meaningful Christmas pr... ... middle of paper ... ... The short story "Ship" is simply full of irony. This story is about a group of men who strand themselves on an island. At first they planned 2 set traps in the floor in order to harm the people in the village trying to harm them. This was all changed when they also fell into their own traps. This is how O. Henry potrayed the situation, "The first to emerge uttered ambiguous squeals, and raised one foot quickly. Another step and they sat down, with shrill cries of alarm, to pick at the new and painful insects that had stung them upon thefeet. '~Que picadores diablos!~"' they screeched to one another across the narrow ways." The irony is obvious the way the men planned to set up traps for enemies and tehy entrapped themselves. In conclusion, O. Henry is one of the most well-known short story writers of all time. He used irony in most of his stories. This is why many critics refer to him as the " Master of irony. O. Henry also uses moral themes in his stories. Mostly he uses the theme of love above all. To him he believes that love is the ultimate emotion and should be the meaning for everything.

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