William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry, was widely known for his short stories. He is often referred
to as the "Master of Short Stories." His stories were filled with twist and irony within the plot. "Some have called him the American Maupassant because of his so well made surprising endings" (Online). In 1908 critic Henry James Forman wrote that "No talent could be more original or more delightful. The combination of technical excellence with whimsical, sparkling wit, abundant humor and a fertile invention is so rare that the reader is content without comparisons" (Nextext Online). O. Henry also used reoccuring themes in his stories such as love above everything else.
Authors of short stories use elements of style to make their stories interesting. There are many elements of style used by authors. Irony and theme are often used in short stories. This is clearly shown in O. Henry's short stories such as"The Gift of the Magi," "The Lickpenny Lover," and "Ships." The short stories of O. Henry use the element of theme to bring about ironic endings.
An example of O.Henry's use of irony is shown in the short story "The Gift of the Magi". In this story Jim and Dell were newlyweds. They were extremely poor, however they had an emense amount of love for each other. It was Christmas, and although they had decided not to exchange presents, each wanted to give the other a gift. Jim sold his beloved pocket watch so that he could buy combs for Dell to wear in her beautiful long hair. Dell cut her hair and sold it so that she could buy a chain and fob for Jim's pocket watch. As they exchanged the gifts and saw the price of the gift each had given, that which was most dear to them, they realized that they have gave up in order to show their love for each other was what was necessary
to complete the gift.
Theme is also used in "The Gift of the Magi." There are elements of theme throughout the entire story. One... [continues]
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