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Hallmarks of O. Henry

Author/Genre Study

James Eskew

on 6 November 2017

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Transcript of Hallmarks of O. Henry

Author/Genre Study
Hallmarks of O. Henry
The story should:

• have a limited number of characters

• weave a tightly constructed plot that covers a short period of time

• establish one main setting

• focus on one major conflict or incident

• offer one dominant theme or main idea

• create one overall mood

• be short enough to be read in one sitting
O. Henry’s personal life provided plenty of material for his tales.
battled illness and alcohol
lawmen and lawless editors
common folk and common criminals
more than six hundred stories

simple people who perform common, everyday jobs.
imposters or have connections to crime (a reflection of O. Henry’s years in jail)
take place in
New York City
the West or Southwest
Central America
doesn’t often make specific references to locations
settings reflect the lifestyle, social and economic and mood of his characters.

revolve around love, compassion, hope, and sacrifice.
the act of going against; opposition; denial
a declaration of the opposite or contrary
direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency
Dictionary meaning:
Literary term:
involves the action of the main character.
key to creating a compelling character
gives the writer a way to inject drama and tension
A paradox in literature refers to:
the use of concepts or ideas that are contradictory to one another
when placed together hold significant value on several levels.
deeper level of meaning and significance
not revealed at first glace
it provides astonishing insight
Types of contradiction:
a difference between the appearance and the reality
remember three types?
verbal - involves what one does not mean
situational - an incongruity between what is expected or intended and what actually occurs
dramatic - characters are oblivious of the situation but the audience is not
a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings
jumbo shrimp
living dead
William Sydney Porter
pseudonym - pen name -O. Henry
known as “the master of the American short story.”
A short story
brief work of fiction
develops characters, a plot, a setting, a conflict, a theme, and an overall mood, all within a few pages.

For an author to create a short story, he or she must consider the following guidelines when constructing these elements.
“I’ll give you the whole secret of short story writing. Here it is. Rule I: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule II.”
well-constructed plots
an element of coincidence or chance and a surprise ending
A figure of speech (generally considered a type of metaphor) in which an inanimate object or abstraction is given human qualities or abilities.
The wind whispered through dry grass.
The flowers danced in the gentle breeze.
Time and tide waits for none.
The fire swallowed the entire forest.
a definitive stance the author adopts in shaping a specific emotional perspective towards the subject of the literary work
refers to the mental and emotional disposition of the author towards the subject
lends a particular character or atmosphere to the work
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