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The style and technique Essay

This chapter presents the Review of Related Literature and Studies. These are researches connected to the study that the researchers are conducting. The Review of Related Literature contains the information about the five selected short stories, the biography of the author, and the literary approach that is to be used. The Review of Related Studies contains the studies conducted by other researchers that are related to the study. These studies are the analyses and reviews of the short stories.

Related Literature

This part includes: the summary of the five selected short stories – The Gift of the Magi, The Last Leaf, The Ransom of Red Chief, A Retrieved Reformation and The Clarion Call to give the readers a brief picture of the stories, the author’s biography so as to give the readers an account of their lives and inspirations, and the literary techniques pertaining to style and theme to let the readers understand how the research is being conducted. Synopses The Gift of the Magi Jim and Della are a husband and wife living in a rented room in New York.

They are quite poor and recently Jim has had his salary cut back to only $20 a week from the $30 a week he used to make. After rent and groceries, the couple hardly have any money left. Christmas is only a day away and, for a Christmas present, Della wants to buy Jim a gold watch chain for his gold watch. They do not have much to be proud or happy about, but Jim is very proud of that watch. And Della? Della is most proud of her beautiful long hair. But she really wants to buy that gold chain for Jim’s watch. Too bad she only has $1. 87. So, she decides to sell her hair to a woman who makes wigs and other hair articles.

The woman pays Della $20 for her hair. The chain costs $21, so she now has enough money. She buys the chain to give to Jim. She goes home and prepares Jim’s dinner and waits for him to come home, a little bit worried that Jim will be shocked when he sees her with all her beautiful hair cut off. When Jim comes home, he does look shocked when he sees Della with short hair. He stares at her in a strange way and it scares her. She explains to Jim how she sold her hair to buy him a nice Christmas present. Jim tells her not to worry and that nothing can change his love for her.

The reason he is shocked to see her without her long hair is that he also wanted to get a nice Christmas present for Della. He gives her the present wrapped in paper and Della unwraps it to see that Jim had bought her a set of beautiful combs for her hair. She had seen them in a shop before, but they were so expensive. How was Jim able to afford them? Suddenly, she remembers Jim’s present. She gives him the gold chain. The chain is beautiful, but when Della asks Jim to put it on his watch, Jim surprises her.

He sold the watch to buy her those nice combs. (http://users. aber. ac.uk/jpm/ellsa/ellsa_giftofmagi2. html) The Last Leaf This story takes place in New York City where two young women share an apartment. They, like all the tenants in their building, are artists who earn their daily break making drawings for magazine advertisements.

All the artists, though, hope to paint a masterpiece, someday. One of the girls has come down with pneumonia. She isn’t in a hospital (as she would be today) but is being nursed by her room-mate. The doctor has visited the apartment and advises the healthy girl that her ill friend will only recover if she has the will to live.

The sick girl is in bed staring out the window. On this rainy November day, she is staring through the window watching leaves fall from a vine on the opposite building wall. She announces that when the last leaf falls, she will die. The nurse is in a panic. She does her best to bring some cheer, to infuse her friend with the will to live. The sick girl refuses to improve. The healthy girl visits an old artist who lives downstairs. She tells the old drunk that their friend needs a reason to live. He scoffs at this suggestion, and our nurse goes home dejected.

The next day, the last leaf is still on the vine. And, the next day, it’s still there. Our patient begins to improve. The doctor visits and gives her a much better chance of survival. But, he lets her know that the old man downstairs is now stricken with pneumonia. They found him in his room sick, wet, and cold. Outside was a ladder and his palette of paints where he had painted a single leaf on the wall. It was the last leaf that had given hope to the sick girl, which had given her the will to live. (http://shortstoryreview. blogspot. com/2005/02/last-leaf-by-o-henry.

html) The Ransom of Red Chief The story takes place in rural Alabama. Two crooks, Bill Driscoll and Sam (we never learn his last name) have about $600 between the two of them and figure they need another $2000 to pull off a “fraudulent town-lot scheme. ” And by the way, you learn in the first paragraph of the story that these two fellows are the self-educated type who think that using big words makes them smart. They have it all figured out. Except for the fact that the words they use are wrong or made up, accounting for the humor of the undereducated ne’er-do-well who thinks he has a plan.

So Bill and Sam decide that in order to get their money, they’ll kidnap a child from a prominent member of a small town and thus select little Johnny Dorset, a boy of nine and the only child of Ebenezer Dorset, a “mortgage fancier. ” The trouble starts from the get-go when they call out to Johnny to tempt him to the car. Johnny throws a piece of brick and hits Bill in the eye. The two get out of the car and grab Johnny, who puts up a struggle before they get him in the car and drive out to a cave in the hills. Sam goes to return the car, and when he returns he finds Johnny has become Red Chief – and Bill has bruises on his legs.

Life over the next day doesn’t get any better for Bill as little Johnny, who hates school, doesn’t like girls, and is generally a little terror, finds the idea of camping out to be great fun and indulges his sadistic imagination on his captors, nearly scalping Bill the next morning, shoving a red hot potato down his shirt and smashing it with his foot, and riding Bill like a horse. It’s enough to make Bill announce that his favorite Biblical character is King Herod (who had all the young boys put to death around the time of the birth of Jesus). And even Sam threatens the boy with taking him back home if he doesn’t behave.

Sam and Bill then draw up their ransom letter and have it delivered to Ebenezer Dorset demanding $1500 (Bill insists that no one will pay $2000 to have Johnny returned). Mr. Dorset responds with a letter of his own telling “Two Desperate Men” that for $250 he will accept Johnny back, but that they better do it at night as the neighbors believe Johnny is gone for good and he can’t be held responsible for how they’ll act if they see him being returned. Bill begs, and Sam relents. So that night, they take Johnny home. Johnny grabs Bill’s leg, holding on for dear life so he isn’t returned home.

Johnny’s dad pries him off. Bill asks how long he can hold Johnny, to which Ebenezer replies he’s not as strong as he used to be, so maybe ten minutes, to which Bill replies that by then he should be close to Canada, and takes off running. (http://www. humanities360. com/index. php/the-plot-summary-of-o-henrys-the-ransom-of-red-chief-31292/) A Retrieved Reformation Set in the American Midwest during the early 1900s, “A Retrieved Reformation” concerns the surprising fate of Jimmy Valentine, a skilled young safecracker who returns to society after he is paroled from prison.

The story begins at the prison shortly before Jimmy Valentine if set free; the majority of the narrative occurs in Elmore, a small backwoods town in Arkansas where he settles. Major characters include Jimmy Valentine; Mike Dolan, his partner in crime; detective Ben Price, Jimmy’s nemesis; and Annabel Adams, the girl with whom Jimmy falls in love. Minor characters are the prison warden; Cronin, a prison guard; Mr. Adams, Annabel’s father; Annabel’s sister; Annabel’s two young nieces, May and Agatha; a hotel clerk; and a young boy who lives in Elmore. As the story begins, Jimmy is called to the warden’s office.

The warden hands Jimmy his pardon from the governor and advises him to stay out of trouble: “You’re not a bad fellow at heart,” he says. “Stop cracking safes, and live straight. ” Jimmy laughs, feigning surprise, denying he had ever cracked a safe or committed the bank robbery that had sent him to prison. Jimmy leaves prison the next day and takes a train to another town where he meets up with Mike Dolan, a friend and confederate. After picking up his key from Mike, Jimmy returns to his room above Mike’s restaurant where he had lived before detective Ben Price arrested him.

Jimmy finds his safe cracking tools still hidden in the wall where he had left them. A week later, a string of bank safe burglaries in the Midwest comes to Ben Price’s attention; he knows Jimmy Valentine is back in business and sets out to catch him again. Meanwhile, carrying his burglar tools in a suitcase, Jimmy arrives in small, remote Elmore, Arkansas, where he plans to rob the bank. Walking toward the hotel, he encounters a beautiful young woman. Their eyes meet, and in that instant, Jimmy undergoes a complete reformation: “Jimmy Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what he was, and became another man.

” After talking to a boy on the street, Jimmy learns she is Annabel Adams, whose father owns the bank. Jimmy continues on to the hotel, where he registers as “Ralph D. Spencer. ” In a conversation with the hotel clerk, Jimmy learns that Elmore does not have a shoe store and that business is good in the town. Jimmy Valentine does not rob the bank; instead, “Ralph Spencer” settles in Elmore, opens a profitable shoe store, becomes a social success, and makes the acquaintance of Annabel Adams. A year elapses. Still using his “Ralph Spencer” alias, Jimmy enjoys great success.

His business is growing, he and Annabel are soon to be married, and Annabel’s father and sister have accepted him as one of the family. To cut completely the ties with his past, Jimmy writes a letter to one of his former friends, asking the man to meet him in Little Rock. Jimmy plans to give the man his set of safe cracking tools. The day before Jimmy is to leave for Little Rock, Ben Price arrives in Elmore, spots Jimmy Valentine, and learns he is about to marry the banker’s daughter. Ben Price has other ideas.

The next day before leaving town, with his burglar tools in his suitcase, Jimmy goes to the bank with Annabel, Annabel’s sister, and the sister’s two little girls, May and Agatha. Annabel’s father wants to show off the new burglar-proof safe he has recently installed. While all are admiring the safe, Ben Price comes into the bank and watches the scene; he tells a bank teller “he was just waiting for a man he knew. ” Jimmy is unaware of the detective’s presence. Without warning, May playfully locks Agatha in the bank vault, throwing the bolts and spinning the combination lock as she had seen her grandfather perform the maneuver.

The safe cannot be opened, Mr. Adams exclaims in horror, since the timer and the combination had not been set. Furthermore, Agatha will soon run out of air in the vault. Jimmy and the others can hear Agatha crying out in panic. Annabel turns to Jimmy, begging him to do something, at least to try. Jimmy looks at Annabel with a “soft smile. ” He asks her for the rose she is wearing. Confused, Annabel hands him the rose. Jimmy puts the rose in his vest pocket, throws off his coat, and pushes up his shirtsleeves: “With that act Ralph D. Spencer passed away and Jimmy Valentine took his place.

” Using his tools, Jimmy opens the safe in record time, freeing the sobbing child. Once Agatha is safe, Jimmy puts on his coat and walks away; he hears Annabel call out to him, but he does not stop. When he encounters Ben Price, who has witnessed the dramatic scene, Jimmy tells the detective, “Well, let’s go. I don’t know that it makes much difference, now. ” Price, who seems to be acting rather oddly, replies, “Guess you’re mistaken, Mr. Spencer . . . Don’t believe I recognize you. ” With that, the detective leaves. “A Retrieved Reformation” was published in 1909 in O.

Henry’s book of short stories, Roads of Destiny. It features several of the narrative elements for which O. Henry’s short stories are well known. The surprise ending is especially characteristic of O. Henry’s tales, as are the story’s numerous gentle ironies. Jimmy Valentine leaves prison with no thought of leading a conventional, respectable life, and he comes to Elmore to rob the bank. Instead, he falls in love with the banker’s daughter, finds a new family, runs a flourishing shoe store (having learned to make shoes in prison), and becomes a pillar in his new community.

Furthermore, the special skills he had used in his criminal pursuits enable him to save a little girl’s life. His unlikely reformation is “retrieved” by the detective most determined to arrest him. (http://www. enotes. com/topics/a-retrieved-reformation) The Clarion Call The murderer Johnny Kernan meets his old acquaintance, Barney Woods, walking down Broadway. Woods is now a NY City detective. Woods pulls a gun on Kernan, but Kernan knows Woods is indebted to him for a past favor, and can’t turn him in. Woods says he’ll have to resign from the force and drive an express wagon. He says, “I guess I’m a man first and a detective after.

” After more drinks, Kernan resents being told to lay low because there has been an epidemic of manslaughter and burglaries in the city. And the newspapers may publicize this murder. Kernan, enraged, calls the editor of a newspaper and confesses his crime to him; the editor eventually believes him and attempts to contact the police. Woods and Kernan leave the bar, dine in an expensive restaurant, attend the theater, and end up at an all-night cafe at 3:30 A. M. Woods scans the early morning paper and reads the following to Kernan: “Pay to the order of John Kernan the one thousand dollars coming to me for his arrest and conviction.

” Signed, Barney Woods. (http://www. searchlit. org/stories/7698. php) Biography of the Author O. Henry was an American writer whose short stories are known for wit, wordplay and clever twist endings. He wrote nearly 600 stories about life in America. He was born William Sidney Porter on September 11, 1862, in Greensboro, North Carolina. His father, Algernon Sidney Porter, was a medical doctor. When William was three his mother died and he was raised by his grandmother and aunt. He left school at the age of 15 and then had a number of jobs, including bank clerk. In 1896 he was accused of embezzlement.

He absconded from the law to New Orleans and later fled to Honduras. When he learned that his wife was dying, he returned to US and surrendered to police. Although there has been much debate over his actual guilt, he was convicted of embezzling funds from the bank that employed him, he was sentenced to 5 years in jail. In 1898 he was sent to the penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio. While in prison he began writing short stories in order to support his young daughter Margaret. His first published story was “Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking” (1899). He used a pseudonym, Olivier Henry, only once and changed his pen name to O.

Henry, not wanting his readers to know he was in jail. He published 12 stories while in prison. After serving 3 years of the five-year sentence, he was released for good behavior. He moved to New York City in 1902 and wrote a story a week for the New York World, and also for other publishers. His first collection of stories was “Cabbages and Kings” (1904). The next collection, “The Four Million” (1906), included his well-known stories “The Gift of the Magi”, “The Skylight Room” and “The Green Door”. One of his last stories, “The Ransom of Red Chief” (1910), is perhaps the best known of his works.

Among its film adaptations are Ruthless People (1986) with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler, The Ransom of Red Chief (1998), The Ransom of Red Chief (1911) and Delovye lyudi (1962) (aka “Business People”) by director Leonid Gayday, starring Georgiy Vitsin and Yuriy Nikulin In his lifetime O. Henry was able to see the silent film adaptations of his stories; The Sacrifice (1909), Trying to Get Arrested (1909) and His Duty (1909). His success brought the attendant pressure, and he suffered from alcohol addiction. His second marriage lasted 2 years, and his wife left him in 1909.

He died of cirrhosis of the liver, on June 5, 1910, in New York, New York. O. Henry is credited for creation of The Cisco Kid, whose character alludes to Robin Hood and Don Quixote. The Arizona Kid (1930) and The Cisco Kid (1931) are among the best known adaptations of his works. (http://www. imdb. com/name/nm0377958/bio) Literary Technique (also known as Literary Device) is any method an author uses to convey his or her message. O. Henry usually uses techniques such as: paradox, satire, irony, tone and plot twist. Paradox is a phrase that describes an idea composed of concepts that conflict.

Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices. Irony is characterized by an incongruity, or contrast, between what the expectations of a situation are and what is really the case, with a third element, that defines that what is really the case is ironic because of the situation that led to it. The term may be further defined into several categories, among which are: verbal, dramatic, and situational. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Irony). Tone is overall attitude an author appears to hold toward key elements of the work.

Strictly speaking, tone is generally an effect of literary techniques, on the level of a work’s overall meaning or effect. The tone of a whole work is not itself a literary technique. However, the tone of a work, especially in a discrete section, may help create the overall tone, effect, or meaning of the work. And plot twist is the unexpected change (“twist”) in the direction or expected outcome of the plot. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Literary_technique#Literary_techniques_pertaining_to_theme) Related Studies The following paragraphs present essays and reviews which are connected to the researchers’ study.

In the words of William Peden, O. Henry brought verve, excitement, and humor to the genre. Enormously interested in people, he is capable of swift and compassionate insights into the average person, and his sympathy for the underdog, the little man or woman dwarfed in the maze of contemporary life, to a degree accounted for his enormous popularity. (St. James Press, 1994. ) A. St. John Adcock, in his critic entitled “O. Henry: An English View”, agrees and adds O. Henry can move readers to tears as well as to laughter – you have not finished with him when you have called him a humourist.

He has all the gifts of the supreme teller of tales, is master of tragedy as well as of burlesque, of comedy and of romance, of the domestic and the mystery-tale of common life, and has a delicate skill in stories of the supernatural. (Doubleday, Page, 1917, pp. 196-204. ) Mr. Robert Cortes Holliday argues, in an essay called “The Amazing Failure of O. Henry”, that O. Henry created no memorable characters. O. W. Firkins suggests the obvious but satisfying answer—New York itself is his triumph. The New York of O. Henry, already almost erased physically, remains a personality and an identity.

There are two opinions concerning O. Henry. The middle class views him as the impersonation of vigor and brilliancy; part of the higher criticism sees in him little but sensation and persiflage. Criticism of O. Henry falls into those superlatives and antitheses in which his own faculty delighted. The truth is that we reject not what it is impossible to prove, or even what it is possible to disprove, but what it is impossible to imagine. O. Henry asks us to imagine the unimaginable—that is his crime. (Christopher Morley, ed. ) Wilton Eckley states his overview on O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi: A prolific writer, O.

Henry turned out over 250 short stories between 1899 and 1910. These stories have been widely read and enjoyed throughout the world, and even though in the eyes of some they may not be considered first-rate literature, they have become a significant part of the short story genre. ‘The Gift of the Magi,’ collected in The Four Million (1906), stands as a clear example of O. Henry’s mastery of the sentimental story with the surprise ending. … The Last Leaf – It can be argued that the story has a heightened sense of idealism but then a story, if not anything else or anyone else, can afford it.

(Samatva, 2013) A reader, Eustacia Tan, states about The Ransom of the Red Chief, “Well, I suppose that if you’re looking for a short but entertaining story to read, you should definitely give this a go. ” With the popularity of O. Henry’s works, five of these were adapted into a movie entitled “O. Henry’s Full House”. This anthology film assembles five respected directors and a top-notch cast to bring a handful of stories by the great American author O. Henry to the screen. “The Cop and the Anthem”, “The Clarion Call”, “The Last Leaf”, “The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Gift of the Magi”.

(http://www. rottentomatoes. com/m/o_henrys_full_house/) Theoretical/ Conceptual Framework of the Study Formalistic Approach is used in this study – more specifically the literary devices. In the Formalistic Approach the data are presented, analyzed and interpreted. Figure 1 below shows the conceptual framework of the study. The first box presents the title of the five selected short stories; the second box contains the approach to be used; and, the third box shows the literary techniques. With the use of Formalistic approach, the researchers can identify the style and technique of O. Henry. Figure 1.


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