O. Henry's Writing Style

O. Henry's Writing Style

Length: 1058 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
When people try to describe O. Henry’s writing style, they always use the term “smile with tears,” which implies his twisted way of thoughts and endings about every story. These stories usually end in a humorous but also cruel kind of way. It’s absolutely useful to elevate the artistic thought in writing a thoughtful story.
To better understand the brilliant plots of his twisted endings let us begin with one of his most famous stories, The Cop and the Anthem1. In this story, the main character was trying to find shelter for the coming winter by getting himself thrown into prison. After all his attempts ended in futility, he found himself moved by the anthem of the church. Hearing this he decided to make a new man of himself by conquering the evil that had taken possession of him. But not until the anthem was finished, this time he was ‘hopefully’ arrested for doing nothing. When Soapy had realized how foolish he was and had decided to live a new life, his previous activities deprived him of the right. The ending makes us think about society and its treatment of Soapy. What made the story so successful was the ending. The sudden turn of events not only gives readers a sudden fall, but also forces us to think about our own lives.
In order to learn more about O. Henry’s articles, we should pay some particular attention to what happened in his life and why he wrote stories such as The Cop and the Anthem. O. Henry, whose given name is William Sydney Porter, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. When William was three, his mother died, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother and aunt. William was an avid reader, but at the age of fifteen he left school, and then worked in a drug store. He moved to Houston, where he had a number of jobs, including one as a bank clerk. In 1884 he started a humorous weekly publication called The Rolling Stone. When the paper failed, he joined the Houston Post as a reporter and columnist. In 1897 he was convicted of embezzling money, although there has been much debate over his actual guilt. In 1898 he entered a penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio.
While in prison O. Henry started to write short stories to earn money to support his daughter Margaret. His first work, Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking (1899), appeared in McClure's Magazine.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"O. Henry's Writing Style." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Apr 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Nature and Purpose of Digression in Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews

- Nature and Purpose of Digression in Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews   It is perhaps a development of Henry Fielding’s verbose writing style that he includes so many digressions in the pages of Joseph Andrews. As an author, he is certainly not afraid to slow the pace of his tale for the development of a moral point, and although this most often takes the place of a paragraph or two within the main story, he does occasionally dedicate entire chapters to matters which are completely unrelated to the plot development but which expound ethical or theological ideas related to the themes of the text as a whole....   [tags: Henry Fielding Joseph Andrews Essays]

Research Papers
897 words (2.6 pages)

Civil Disobedience, By Henry David Thoreau Essay

- “Government is best which governs least.” This single quote is the most important line of the short story and what also defines this short story as a classic.“Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau, is a Thoreau’s viewpoint on issues that face the nation as a whole including the size of the government, how the government should be fixed, and social issues. These problems though are not just facing the nation during his lifetime, but also our life. Thoreau is known as a classic author through his life story and his work in the transcendentalism movement, but also with the themes in “Civil Disobedience” and the style....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau]

Research Papers
1139 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on O. Henry and His Writing Tendency

- Abstract This paper begins with a brief introduction to O.Henry and his writing style. Then the author introduces the history background of O¡¤Henry and his life experience. After that the paper analyzes the impact of the above factors on his writing style. O¡¤Henry lived in a time of declination of romanticism and prosperity of realism, experiencing great changes though the whole life, watching the cruelty of capitalism and showing strong mercy to those ordinary people who struggled for living....   [tags: European Literature]

Research Papers
2474 words (7.1 pages)

William Sydney Porter ( O. Henry Essay

- 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....   [tags: Short story, Guy de Maupassant, Fiction, O. Henry]

Research Papers
1035 words (3 pages)

From Walden By Henry David Thoreau And Against Nature Essay

- In many works of literature, authors often have a point they are trying to convey. This may be something about religion or politics, for example. In From Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Against Nature by Joyce Carol Oates, both authors are trying to make different claims regarding the topic of nature. Thoreau’s piece speaks more positively of nature whereas Oates’ piece contradicts the romantic views some writers have about nature. In making their claims, both authors utilize different structures to convey clear messages to the reader....   [tags: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Research Papers
1062 words (3 pages)

Analysis Of Henry David Thoreau 's ' The Wilderness Near The Walden Pond '

- Henry David Thoreau is among many other early American transcendentalist thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau wrote many pieces and accomplished much in his lifetime; including the time he spent in the wilderness near the Walden Pond observing only the essential facts of life to further understand life as a whole. Many would quote him for his tremendous contributions to early American thought and his outstanding thoughts, “Even to call him a Transcendentalist is to underplay the carefully observed and circumstantial style of much of his writing and the sense of physical participation on which the style is based,” (Dougherty)....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Concord]

Research Papers
1293 words (3.7 pages)

The Poetic Style of Henry Charles Bukowski Essay

- Henry Charles Bukowski Poetry is the art of rhythmical composition written or spoken for exciting pleasure by beauty imaginative or elevated thought. It is also literary work in metrical form. By definition, a poet is a person how composes poetry. The relationship between poetry and the late Henry Charles Bukowski is equivalent to that of a professional ice skater and the ice that he skates on . By the same token, it compared to something a bit less governed, although a pro ice skater is free to graze the ice at his own expense, the root of professional ice skating is indeed restricted....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
661 words (1.9 pages)

Skakespeare and his style of writing Essay

- Shakespeare’s plays are a product of the Elizabethan theatrical context in which they were first performed. A lot of pressure was put on Shakespeare as he wrote his plays because he was not allowed to upset the royal family. His style would have been different than others in those times and a lot more thought has gone into his writing than people listening would think. Usually, the audience take for granted the cleverness and thought of Shakespeare’s writing, however, now we have studied and gone into great detail about Shakespeare’s writing, we can appreciate it more than they did: The Globe Theatre was where Shakespeare had most of his plays performed....   [tags: William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
2363 words (6.8 pages)

Henry James Essay

- Henry James In August of 1904, after more than two decades abroad, the sixty-year-old Henry James returned to the United States for a year. While William James had famously remarked that his brother was "a native of the James family" (W James 517), with little else in the way of national affiliation, Henry considered himself as American as ever after his twenty years in Europe. The book he wrote about his American journey was titled The American Scene only because James's first choice had been taken; he would have preferred to call it The Return of the Native.[1] But James's sense of himself as a native, as one at home in the United States, was shaken by his alienating experie...   [tags: American Scence Henry James Essays]

Free Essays
3090 words (8.8 pages)

A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

- A Nineteenth Century Ghost Story in The Turn of The Screw by Henry James The Turn of The Screw is a classic Gothic ghost novella with a wicket twist set in a grand old house at Bly. The story is ambiguous; we never fully know whether the apparitions exist or not and we are left with many more questions than answers. The Governess is left in charge of two young children, Miles and Flora, of whom she later becomes obsessed with, describing them as 'angelic'. She has no contact with her employer from London, the children's enigmatic uncle once there, sparking suspicions of the children being unwanted....   [tags: Henry James Papers Gothic]

Research Papers
5505 words (15.7 pages)

Related Searches

2 After serving three years of his five year sentence, Porter emerged from the prison in 1901 and changed his name to O. Henry. He moved to New York City in 1902 and from December 1903 to January 1906 he wrote a story a week for the New York World, while also publishing in other magazines.
Having dropped out of school, dealing with the loss of his wife, and being subjected to prison life, O. Henry was totally aware of the cruelty of being a “small potato” in society. His experience shows the majority people he met in daily life were those from the lower class of the society such as clerks, policemen, and waitresses. This helped him to get involved with the majority of the working class who are the real people who are face various kinds of stress every day. However, surprisingly, this is also where true love appears.
In His most famous story, The Gift of the Magi3 he spins the tale of a young couple who are short of money but desperately want to buy each other Christmas gifts. The husband sells his only favorite watch to buy a set of combs for his wife, while she uses the money from selling her beautiful hair to buy him a pocket chain. The author arranges the entire plot just to make readers anticipate the excitement of the outcome. From the beginning, the readers keep guessing what the couple will buy for each other, and the irony of their gifts is the greatest suspense the author puts into this story. Finally the author gives the answer to the readers question in the ending:
“Here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi. ”
The author’s answer was that their will be none of the gift in the world more valuable than love. Love is supreme, and it’s beyond all the other material objects in this world. Only by love can we be connected tightly and faithfully. This is the theme of the story.
It is not surprising that The Gift of the Magi still enjoys such widespread fame, for in this trite little tale of mutual self-sacrifice between husband and wife. Unselfish love shared, regardless of the attendant difficulties or distractions--this is the idea repeatedly implied as a criterion in his fictional treatment of domestic affairs. If such love is present, life can be a great adventure transcending all drabness; if it is absent, nothing else can take its place.
Mr. Henry found his love in the lower class of society which kept me wondering, “Where can we find the true love in our life?” Perhaps love is just like a story with a twisted ending; it might seem normal or even a bit sad from the outside, but to the people who are in the story, and those who are aware of the true meaning of love, happiness will remain in their heart for a long time.
Even though O. Henry made some mistakes during his life, most people will still remember him as a prolific and prominent American short-story writer; a master of surprise endings. We are not allowed to judge a person only by his experiences; moreover, readers can always tell an author’s personality through his words. O. Henry has always been a favorite in American literature for his acute perspective of the creatures living in society, and his peculiar writing style of the twisted ending. Smile with tears and laugh with touched heart--what more can we ask from life’s stories?
Return to 123HelpMe.com