An Analysis of the Cactus

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What would you do if you found no one is responsible of your bad luck but you? That was what O. Henry tries to pin down to the readers in his symbolic short story, The Cactus. Through meaningful words and dictions, O. Henry tells the bad luck of the main character, Trysdale, who does not know that it is actually himself who make it possible. The delineation of a prestige man who gradually lost his amount of fake accessory of pride leads to the end that Trysdale finds himself as a foolish man who pedantically let everything which should not be his becomes a weapon to kill himself. The main character’s fate reveals one of the consequents of being a conceited and infirm guy, also the prestige of knowing Spanish or foreign language in eighteen thousands.

Through gradual revelation, O. Henry describes Trysdale’s character and behavior. The main thing that leads Trysdale’s fate becomes that bad is his habit of paraphrasing some Castillian proverbs from dictionaries. Perhaps knowing a little means that you know anything and it will make you looked more educated, that is what Trysdale trying to do. Unfortunately, he targeted wrong person, Carruthers. He who admires Trysdale’s fake knowledge and shows it off to a woman that brings Trysdale’s bad luck in the end. Even Trysdale himself cries over spilt milk of this unexpected luck as stated in 9th paragraph, “Now, Carruthers was an idiot.” and “Carruthers, who was one of his incontinent admirers, was the very man to have magnified this exhibition of doubtful erudition”. It also shows us that Trysdale admits how he is not that really know many things about the “Spanish scholarship” (paragraph 11). However, he cannot confess it after the woman makes a judgment about him. Why? He wants to build a prestige of his own image in the woman’s eyes, another Trysdale’s foolish act to go to his end of the story.

With his fake face, Trysdale becomes more confident to confess his anxiety of the woman. She who is thinking Trysdale...
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