O. Henry’s Short Stories: The Brief Characteristic of This Phenomenon

One of the most famous American authors is O. Henry whose real name is William Sydney Porter. He is known mostly for his short stories. Moreover, this person is the one who shows that it is possible to create genial literary pieces without writing tons of pages but with placing everything in a few pages. This genre becomes his most recognizable characteristic. As soon as a young person hears this term, he or she suddenly recalls some facts about O. Henry. At the same time, for many students, it is a real problem to create a paper related to this author and his creative works. They think that there are not many things to tell about such literature genre as these stories are truly short.

The Major Features of This Genre

Sure, O. Henry was not a founder of this genre (the one who invented it was E. A. Poe) even if he made a great contribution to its development. However, it is impossible to analyze his creative activity and writing career without being aware of the major features which short story has. That is why there are the most significant of them below.

  • These stories have a small length and can be read in one sitting.
  • There are only a few details in these novels. The author prefers to explain things without details and generalize almost everything. For example, the character’s appearance is not detailed as well.
  • The story starts in the middle of the plot. Thus, it is not told from the very beginning of the events, and there is no information about what has happened before the described situation.
  • There are few personages in the story. As a rule, two or three characters are involved in the plot. In addition, there is only one line of the story and it is quite simple.

As a rule, all short stories refer to the similar scheme and events are put in a certain order: the epicenter of the situation, dynamic actions, culmination, slowing of the action, the solution of the described situation. The author of the 20th century who worked in this genre, Raymond Carver, said about the short stories: “Get in, get out. Don’t linger. Go on.”

O. Henry’s Themes and Motifs

It is possible to indicate the most typical features of the creative works by O. Henry. In this way, it is easy to detect the reason for his great fame. Why exactly this writer became so popular in the genre of the short story? Probably he had some specialties in his works which make them outstanding and unusual among others. There are the most significant themes and methods used by O. Henry in short stories.

  • The majority of his stories start with the wrong identification. It can be related to both situation and character. It means that someone or something is understood mistakenly which leads to the development of the action and becomes the central motif of a certain story.
  • The life, according to O. Henry, is a game. Thus, all things happen because of the fame or random circumstances which surround main characters.
  • The main hero is usually an ordinary “small” person who can be referred to the lower class. They are average workers who do not have power on someone. At the same time, they are special and outstanding just because they are honest, sincere and kind. They illustrate humane qualities which a person can have.
  • There is a certain moment in the story which changes everything. It is an unexpected turn of the plot. This is culmination after which unusual and wonderful things happen.
  • There may also be several conclusions of the story. It can have diverse finals. One is trustworthy and real, but another is wrong and unrealistic.
  • There is also the connection of different things which is called a paradox. O. Henry uses it for dealing with the lack of uniqueness and too average thoughts. He did not want his stories to be understood automatically and in ordinary. A reader should think critically and analyze events on his own.

Finally, these are the major characteristics which you should mention while working on the topics related to O. Henry’s life story or creative works. You should definitely take these ideas into account if you want to create a brilliant paper. Do not forget that even if the stories are short and have a few characters, you should stay attentive and concentrated. These works may be much more complicated than analyzing a huge book with dozens of plot lines and thousands of personages. The main point is that the sense of O. Henry’s stories is much deeper and difficult to comprehend than in the ordinary novels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *