O. Henry

Topics: Comedy, Humour, Short story, Humor, Twist ending / Pages: 5 (1939 words) / Published: Oct 19th, 2014
O. Henry Unpredictability is a coveted aspect in any author’s work. No matter how action-packed or descriptive a writer is, without a touch of surprise, his work is useless. This was no problem for O. Henry. The famous short story author’s intimate relationship with erratic plot twists came from the roller coaster of a life he led. His twist endings combined in his stories with clever, lighthearted irony that brought humor to otherwise not as humorous topics. This sense of humor was ever constant in his life despite its ups and downs. O Henry’s humor and unpredictable life are represented in his short stories, especially “The Ransom of Red Chief” through his witty and ironic writing style and clever twist endings. O. Henry grew up as William Sydney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina with his grandmother and father due to his mother’s sudden death of tuberculosis when he was three. Without a mother, his grandma had an adverse effect on the young William. She often read humorous stories to him as a little boy, which evolved into the sense of humor he was so well known for and sparked his love for storytelling. As he grew, he took the traditional route of the time and apprenticed under his father as a pharmacist. Porter quickly realized, however, that the average life was not for him. In 1882 he rather spontaneously moved to Texas and the reasons for the move vary. It is known that a man named Richard Hall offered for him to visit his ranch there. His official reason for leaving, though, is that he was ill and needed the fresh air. It is also speculated, and most widely believed, that he left because he found his life dull and jumped on the chance to travel (Current-Garcia 17-22). No matter the reason, this sudden move marked the first of many twists in William Porter’s life. Shortly after moving to the ranch, Porter found love in a woman named Athol Estes and, in another spontaneous decision, eloped with her to Austin (“William Sydney Porter” 1). In

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