A Stylistic Analysis of O. Henry's the Furnished Room
I. Abstract (the outline of the essay)
This paper introduces the American famous writer O.Henry’s life and analyzes his well-known short story “the Furnished Room” with a brief introduction of the main content and theme, also presenting some stylistic features of the article.
II. Key words
O. Henry; The Furnished Room; stylistic features; surprise ending
III. Introduction (aim of the essay)
This paper aims to analyze some stylistic features of O.Henry’s short story “the Furnished Room”, in order to make further analysis of O.Henry’s particular writing style and its specific effect.
IV. Literature review
1. Brief account of the author of the passage
William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) was born on a plantation in Greensboro, North Carolina on September 11, 1862. In 1882, prompted by ill health, he moved to a ranch in West Texas. Two years later, he moved to Austin where he resided until 1898. During Porter's early years in the city, he held several jobs. He was a pharmacist at the Morley Drug Store, a bookkeeper for Joe Harrell, and later, a clerk at Maddox Brothers and Anderson, general land agents. In 1887, Porter eloped with seventeen year old Athol Estes, an Austin native, who was impressed with both his singing and drawing abilities. They were married at Flower Hill, the home of Reverend R. K. Smoot. Will and Athol had two children. In 1891, Porter left his job at the Texas Land Office and moved on to become a bank teller at the First National Bank of Austin. Porter removed himself to Houston where he wrote a column for the Houston Post. To avoid an embezzlement trial, he fled to New Orleans and embarked on a steamer to Honduras. In his desperate situation, he impulsively planned to wait out the statute of limitations in Central America, but he abandoned this plan when he got word that his wife was about to die. He returned to Austin to care for her and to await his trial. Shortly after his wife's death in 1897, William Porter was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in the federal penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio and he never returned to Texas. After his release from prison, Porter moved briefly to Pittsburgh and then to New York City, where he established residency. While in prison, Will Porter adopted the pen name O. Henry and began his career as a short story writer. His work was prolific but began to decline, along with his health, after 1907. O. Henry died in New York City in 1910, prior to his forty-eighth birthday. His legacy continues in the O. Henry Award, one of the most prestigious short story prizes in America. 2. Brief account of the passage
The tragedy short story “The Furnished Room” is about a young who commits suicide in a room he rents. He has searched for his sweetheart fruitlessly for five months, with a hope that he can find her in the house he lives. But for the purpose of making profit, the landlady doesn’t tell him the truth that his girlfriend kills herself in the same room a week ago. At the end the young man dies in despair. The story is divided into two parts. The second part reveals the truth and produces the surprise ending through the conversation between the landlady, Mrs. Purdy, and her friend Mrs. McCool.
3. Major theme of the passage
The short story is really a tragedy and “irony of fate”. The author presents the story not simply in order to appraise the young man’s true love for the girl, but also to reveal the truth that the capital society makes some people cold-hearted. They are so realistic and cruel that they only care about their own profit without concerning others’ emotion and life.
V. Linguistic presentation of the theme by the author
1. Lexical features and the according effects
Most of the vocabularies in the story are simple and easy to understand. But it’s obvious that the author...
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