学霸学习网 这下你爽了
当前位置:首页 >> 文学 >>

On the Twist Ending and the Humanity of Characters in O. Henry’s Short Stories

On the Twist Ending and the Humanity of Characters in O. Henry's Short Stories Abstract O. Henry, one of the three most famous short-story writers in the world, enjoys equal status with Chekhov and Maupassant. Some critics called him "the founder of American stories." Exquisite plot, wry humor and twist ending dominate his works. The main stream of his works is eulogy of humanity and his many classical works are notable. This thesis mainly analyses the twist ending and the humanity of characters in O. Henry's short stories. With his humorous, ironical and comic writing style, O. Henry reveals the humanity from the twist ending. Part one is on the humanity of characters reflected from the twist ending. O. Henry shows sympathy for the poor social underdogs, upgrades human virtues as well as exposes human defeats. However, the previous human nature elicits the sudden twist ending. It not only gives the readers sudden fall but also makes us think plausibly. Part two is on the effect of twist ending writing devices on the humanity of characters. It mainly contains the writing background of ending which lights up the humanity of characters and the plot making technique of twist ending. In a capitalist society, the specific characters are the special society. They also foretell the fate ending. Furthermore, the cultivation of the plot and the surprise ending gives us a new open sight. Part three is about some comments on the twist ending. Some critics considered wry humor as "Smile with Tears," or "Tears with Smile." This part elevates the charm of the theme. In a word, the twist ending directs readers to think about the humanity. Meanwhile, the humanity elevates the artistic twist ending. This thesis on O. Henry's short stories will improve literary learning. More than that it will attract more people to pay attention to O. Henry's works. Key words: Twist ending; Humanity; Wry humor; Smile with tear 欧亨利短篇小说的艺术结尾与人性体现 中文摘要 作为世界三大小说家之一,欧亨利与契诃夫和莫泊桑齐名. 他是美国现代短篇小说的开创者, 他的作品因其奇巧的艺术构思,出其不意的结尾而著称.其中歌颂人性的小说是欧亨利文 学创作的主流,并且许多作品已成为家喻户晓的名篇.同时涌现出许多感人至深的经典人物. 表现了作家对人性理想的执著追求. 本文从欧亨利短篇小说的艺术结尾与人性层面分析.作者运用了幽默,讽刺的喜剧手段揭 示了关于善恶的人性主题及其出奇不意的结尾,让主题升华.第一部分,从艺术结尾中折射的 人性特点出发.欧亨利同情下层人民,赞颂人性的闪光点"自我牺牲" ,善良,真挚,无私 等美德,以及人性的丑陋一面.还有资本主义社会所特有的自私,贪婪,冷酷等.这些为艺 术结尾作了铺垫,使读者被其出奇不意的结尾所震撼,同时其结尾在情理之中. 第二部分,作者 如何将艺术结尾表现在人性上,从两方面入手:社会背景所反映的人性特征和作者奇巧的谋篇 布局.在资本主义社会,人物具有典型的性格特征,这些都预示了他们的结局.而作者通过各 种手法将其跃然纸上. 第三部分,评论小说的艺术结尾,作者的作品也曾被认为是庸俗的小说, 但他们忽视了艺术结尾所饱含的荒诞与幽默所产生的"含笑带泪"和"含泪带笑"的艺术效 果. 总之,艺术结尾激发了人们对人性特点深思,而人性特点又升华了艺术结尾,对读者的心灵 产生了持久的震撼力. 本文对欧亨利及其短篇小说进行的研究,对本人今后的文学路有一定的帮助.而且,可以

让更多的人关注到欧亨利. 关键词: 艺术结尾; 人性; 幽默; 带泪的微笑

Ⅰ. Introduction O. Henry, originally named William Sydney Porter, is a distinguished American storywriter. He wrote more than 300 short stories in his life. His stories are full of colorful characters most of whom are derived from his inclination to wander streets and parks, and to talk to people of every kind and condition. And all of his stories are ingeniously conceived, with the endings always contrary to readers' expectations. Though his stories' endings are always surprising, yet it is not beyond reason, for both ways conform well to the logic of life. He creates an original, typically American democratic form of short stories with, at its best, a valuable critical awareness of life and society tellingly expressed through humor. Therefore, some critics call him "the founder of American stories". Being gifted with humor and a keen awareness of details, he objectively shows us what America looks like. As his experience shows, the majority people he met in his daily life are those lower class in society ---- clerks, policemen, and waitresses. All his stories putting together constitute a true panorama of American life, or as someone said, "The encyclopedia of American life". [1](P61) O. Henry's trademark is the surprising ending that each of his stories contains. He sets a story moving in one direction, and just when the reader is convinced of the general direction of the narrative, the story will be completely reversed. And if we look back to the total story, the ending seems logical and plausible. As a "plot-maker", and designer of incident, he is an amazing genius. No one can do better than him to holds the reader in "suspense". More than that, the reader scarcely knows that he is suspended until the very close of the story. Just as turns on the lights and the whole tale is revealed in its entirety. [2]He uses this device of dramatic and humorous effect in the short story collection The Four Million which including "The Ransom of Red Chief ", "The Gift of the Magi ", and "The Cop and the Anthem", "the Service of Love", "The last Leaf." At the same time he uses irony and satire to disclose the essence of American society: the weak are the prey of the strong, which is regarded as the law of the jungle universally. In addition, right and wrong are confused, good and evil are disordered. Take his works as examples, "Mammon and The Archer", "The Furnished Room" and "A Double-Dyed Deceiver". Those jocular methods in rhetoric can move you to tears as well as laughter. Moreover the author vividly presents the humanity of characters. So if you look back the total story, the ending seems logical and plausible. The real charm of O. Henry's tales lies not only in the twist ending, but also in the reversal reflected from the twist ending of his characters' humanity. The kind of endings serves to light up the humanity of characters, to show the author's love and hatred and thus to arouse the readers' sympathy. If we ponder deeply over those twist endings and those radiant effects, we will find the root of society system is the field of the humanity. Therefore the author uses different kinds of devices to add wry humor to enhance the theme. Next, let's unfold the magic travel of O. Henry's works. Ⅱ. The Humanity of Characters Reflected From the Twist Ending As we know, the ending of an article has long been considered as a conclusion or just a summary of the whole passage. However, O. Henry illustrates a new way, the so-called twist ending or

sometimes the O. Henry's ending. It means that at the end of an article the mental status or the fate of the character has changed greatly. But the whole passage is suddenly endowed with a great charm because of the ending. And the twist ending not only gives the readers a sudden fall, but also let us thinks a lot. [3](P128) Think what? From the twist ending, the humanity is clearly presented. Among O. Henry's short stories, the eternal theme proves to be the humanity. Whether simple or complex, the mystery of human motives controlled by human nature is exposed. There are good and evil elements in human nature, for the two are often mixed with each other more or less. When the good elements in human nature occupy the predominant portion, man will carry forward his virtues such as kindness, generosity, hospitality, self-sacrifice for love and friendship, helping others without asking for rewards. While the evil things defeat the good in human nature, man will display such human defects as being gluttonous and lazy, rapacious, officious, vain arrogant, cowardly, impetuous etc. The human motives become more and more mysterious and various. When tempted, good man would do evil things; when moved by noble-minded people or touching things, the demon will forsake darkness for light and turn over a new leaf in his life. In O. Henry's world, established figures become boobs and rich men become dunces, while rogues become heroes and down-and-outers become gentlemen. 1. The Human Virtues Human being has many virtues from ancient times to the present. They are kind, brave, honest, hard working, polite, thrifty, generous, hospital and so on. Some people still pay a great deal in order to maintain these virtues, they sacrifice their own happiness even their life for lofty love and friendship; they help others without asking for rewards and regard it as a pleasure; they give up their own treasure and chance to others etc. Such people bring love and fine things to the world; they are the ones who endow the world with light and hope. O. Henry has a great understanding of the trials of the lower class, and he frequently pictures the lives of ordinary people of early twentieth century America with warm and sympathetic colors. These characters are frequently the overlooked: the struggling shops girl, the unsuccessful artist, and the impoverished. Even Theodore Roosevelt said: "It was O. Henry who started me on my campaign for office girls."[4](P28) There is no denying that the narratives of humanity by O. Henry have everlasting influence. Although they are poor, leading the life "made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating", [5](P3) they still think,"If a home is happy it cannot fit too close."[6](P41) Most of O. Henry's stories show that the humble little insignificant people of New York are just as admirable and their lives are as worthy of attention and interest and, as he implies, as respectable as the members of the Four Hundred. Take "The Gift of the Magi" as an example, we will find the ingenuity of O. Henry's unexpected endings. From that condensation of the charm of human virtues the love-sacrificial theme is shown. It is about a young couple that is short of money but desperately wants to buy each other Christmas gifts. Unknown to Jim, Della sells her most valuable possession, her beautiful hair, in order to buy platinum as the chain for Jim's watch; unknown to Della, Jim sells his most valuable possession, his watch, to buy jeweled combs for Della's hair. The author arranges the entire plot just to get the readers to wait, to cause suspense, the pleasurable excitement and anticipation of the outcome. From the beginning, the readers keep guessing what Jim and Della will buy for each other, and the coincidence of their gift is the great suspense the author put in his article. And then he gives the answer to the question. Here is the ending: "Here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely scarified for each other

the greatest treasures of their house. But in the last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts." [7](P59) However, the story end comes when Jim reveals that he has sold his watch to buy Dalla her present, from where the poor couple's love is show. Therefore, O. Henry ends the story artfully, and with deft touches he elicits the reader's admiration and sympathy for his young couple shows love for each other more than compensates for their lack of money and material possessions. Though confronted with cruel reality and dull daily routine, Della and Jim can never change their eagerness toward love. To them the most valuable material possession is so slight and insignificant before the spiritual possession of love romance. That is sparkling with fragrant charm. There is another story about sacrificial theme entitled "The Last Leaf", a warm and tragic tale describing how a dying artist proves as resilient as the last leaf on the wall outside. Sue, a poor painter, attacked by Pneumonia, wanted to turn loose her hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor tires leave. But after beating rain and fierce gusts of wind, an ivy leaf still stands against the brick wall, which gives her the hope of living, makeing her realize that: "It is a sin to want to die". [8](P71) The ending reveals that Mr. Behrman, a kind old artist dies at previous night by pneumonia, painting the leave on an outdoor vine in the storming night ----in his effort to restore Sue's will to live. Though the touching ending makes us absorbed in sadness, the readers can still find gleams of hope and desire out of despair. It not only enlightens the girl's courage for better life but also moves every reader to tears. Those glittering human virtues however counterpoint to the capitalist industrial bourgeoisies' human defeats, telling us that life is supreme and thus upgrading the theme. Moreover, sometimes the ending repeats the beginning and strings the whole article to elucidate the human virtues. In "A Service of Love", O. Henry inputs the comment to an inside view, which is conveyed by the conversation between Joe and Delia: "When one loves one's art no service seen—just when one loves". [9](P23) The theme is straightly revealed from the beginning and restated by to the end. O. Henry praises for the pure love between Joe and Delia. They both sacrifice their time and chance to earn enough money to support their spouse. Delia works in a laundry for two weeks. They cheat each other so that one of them can win the opportunity to realize his or her dream or Art. Until one-day Delia's hand is burned with a smoothing-iron, do they find out the reality. This kind of ending eulogize of the love between ordinary people. The art is also a kind hearted, self-sacrifice, hardworking and perseverance. After all, in the world of O. Henry, American society still has charm, has not become vicious. By and large, through the portrayal the panorama of a throng of people either of upper class or lower class, O. Henry's eulogize the specious and precious human virtues. The virtues of the character reflected from the unsuspected ending. ⒉ The Human Defects On the other hand, human beings have many defects, too. They benefit themselves at the expense of others. In order to make money they never show mercy and sympathy to the poor. They realize their own aims by hook or by crook. Their evil deeds make the world vicious. By exposing the human defects and the dark side of the world, O. Henry wants to awaken people's conscience and their deepest desire for all good things, so that people can make their efforts to save and clean the whole world. Some people love money than anything else. In "Mammon and the Archer", Anthony Fuckwell, a retired manufacturer and proprietor of Rockwall' Soap, has the greatest esteem for the value of

money. "I bet my money on money every time, I've been through the encyclopedia down to Y looking for something you can't buy with it, and I expect to have to take to the appendix next week, I'm for money against the field. Tell me something money won't buy. " [10](P73) His son wants to ask for a girl's hand but there is too little time left. Surprisingly, a fortunately traffic tie-up offers enough time for the son. But the ending discloses that it is the father who makes the accident in order to help his son to win the girl's heart. The theme of the story come out: confronted with the Mammon even Archer has to be bent his head down. To Anthony and his peers, the only thing worthy of their thought is money. With the ironic rhetoric method, O. Henry ends the story with a fat boy without any clothes on shooting arrow around with a bow. That is pictured Cupid, in a new, unexpected way, thus bringing readers a new sense to the topic "Mammon and the Archer". This usage of the twist ending adds artistic effect to the person's character described. In a capitalist society, many people even do evil things against their conscience, so as to earn money. In "The Furnished Room", the housekeeper, Mrs. Purdy, cheats a young man who is seeking his lover, in order to let him rent the room. Then the young man commits suicide out of despair. At the end, after the young man dies, we find the man's lover commit suicide at the same rented room. Mrs.Purdy talks about it with another housekeeper in an indifferent tone as if it were only a trifle that could be the topic for gossip over dinner. The society is so doomed by an atmosphere of gloom and indifference that it makes people treat others or even friends without sympathy, equaling to committing murder. Even more jocular is the way that O. Henry describes a rapacious businessman Maxwell in "The Romance of a Busy Broker". He is so crazy about his golden eternal business---- make big money against the clock. More than that he even forgets he has married or not. And in a tumult of a preparation out of his work, he asks his wife to marry again. Those twist ending explose the whole theme of the article. Are the readers to deride the broker or to show sympathy for the broker's tender wife? The author uses pungent rhetoric methods not only to show us the humanity vividly, but also to enhance the theme ----the gluttonous and cruel side of those bourgeoisies. 3. The Human Virtues and the Human Defects----Individualism with No Ill-will O. Henry has deep insights into human destiny and human nature. Among the story of New Yorkers, the theme of pretense strikes the dominant chords of these stories----the pervasive desire to pose for what one if not, if only for a brief spell of time and regardless of the acknowledged risk involved. [11](P66) In daily life, when one feels that he is not flawless; when one is not content with what he has, it is understandable for him to find something or change something to regain the balance in his heart. Everyone will choose a way to pretend to be another man for a short while to get the sense of compensation. After all, that is a comparative and efficient solution for poor people. When he disguises himself, his daily frustration of the ego will disappear from his head for a while. And the transient awakening of self-esteem will occupy his head and soul for a short time. Thus he can escape from the cruel reality successfully and relax himself. Such a person is worthy of sympathy, so O. Henry never looks down upon them. Although the ending of the story is ironical, he never despises them. In the story "While the Auto Waits", which is recognized as one of his best story of the theme of false pretense. A comely young woman pretends to be a noble lady and tries to impress a young man who stops to chat with her in a park. The man masks his real identity by pretending to be a

humble restaurant cashier, which the ending shows to be the position she holds. Meanwhile he is also the wealthy owner of the chauffeured sedan, which she has pointed to as her own. The loss to both individuals is the result of what O. Henry perceived to be a natural human urge. Though this is a world where the fittest survives, the lower class still has its code of ethics. The poor and humble pretend to be the noble and derive pleasure from doing this and they won't injure anyone else. They are not insignificant but worthy of our respect. [12](P12) In addition, there is another story about the human nature's complex or we can say comprehension and meddle with different humanity. In "A Double-Dyed Deceiver", Llano Kid is a young fellow with cruel character. He once kills a card-player in Old Justo waldo' gambling house because of fierce wrangle, then he flees away. When he flees, he steals a horse. After three days he reachs Buena's Tierras by sailing. Then Thacker, the United States consuls, discusses with him to defraud a rich old couple of their money and belonging by pretending to be their long-absent son and he agreeds. But when he learns that the son of the old couple he is coincidentally the young man he has killed, he changs his ideas. He is deeply touched by the old mother's love and tears. He does not want to hurt the sad mother again. So he decides to be their son to comfort them. He once is a gambler, a killer, a deceiver and a thief. He finally chooses to be a gentle son to compensate the old couple for his wrong doings. The return of the prodigal son brings happiness to the couple and calmness to Kid's heart. Finally, the good overcomes the evil and he turns a new leaf to begin his life. That is just the great reward on him. And the unexpected endings also surprise all of the readers and find a gleam of warmth. After all, in the world of O. Henry, American society still has flicker of hope and kindness in their nature. There is no exactly distinction between the kind and the evil in O. Henry's stories. Most of the time, characters in O. Henry's stories are always endowed with both good and ill will, the characters change according to the conditions. In the end of "The Cop and the Anthem", Soapy, who prepares for the coming winter----trying his best to be arrested into the prison, is finally moved by the anthem of the church. And he decides to make a man of him again and to conquer the evil that has taken possession of him. Humanity is complex thing that combines no absolute right or wrong, no absolute good or bad. But those human virtues displayed in O. Henry's works show the fine side of the world, which encourage people and make them cherish life and hope. After all, in the world of O. Henry, American society still has charm, and has not yet become totally vicious. And the deep root of humanity is always adorable and kind, which may inspire instantly the wicked person wherever he is. O. Henry's twist ending not only lies in the ending, but in every scene of the story. In "The Cop and The Anthem", the "modest and pleasing, refined and elegant" lady finally turned out to be streetwalker. [13](P17) The well-dressed man finally turns out to be a thief. The so-called well-dressed "gentleman" exists everywhere in the world, but most of their dirty behaviors are disguised just under the noble veil. We see from here that a person always doing thing to cover his or her attainment. As commentary on the follies, frailties, ambitious, and attainments of human nature, they can hardly be called trenchant, but their exposure in such a variety of forms is another testament of O. Henry's artistry. In a word, under the turbulent circumstance of America at that time, all kinds of human being are pictured vividly and profoundly in accordance with human nature. Ⅲ. Twist Ending Writing Devices on the Humanity of Characters ⒈ Social Background.

Most of O. Henry's stories are set in contemporary present, the early years of the 20th century. At that period of time in America, the bourgeoisie was getting the upper hand and the capitalist economy was booming to its top. Many aspects like working industry and agriculture industry, technology development, prosperity of metropolitan, scale of transportation, bank capital all took the leading position in the world. Bourgeoisie bribed the government and corrupted the functioned department in government. The gap between the rich and the poor was deeper. The number of lower class poor people rocketed .The whole society were undergoing a profound change. The development of consumption culture and subsequent problems of morality consisted of many contradictions in people's social behaviors. Such characters as Sacrifice, Diligence, Model are stressed in the end of 19th century, while Personalities like Purchase, Vanity, Personal Success were stressed in the beginning of 20th century. [14](P62) Many of O. Henry stories take place in New York, the capital where the contradiction sharply exists. O. Henry has an obvious affection for the city. His stories deal for the most part with ordinary people: clerks, policemen, and waitresses. He opens "The Four Million" by observing "Some one invented the assertion that there were only 'Four Hundred' people in New York City who were really worth noticing. But a wiser man has arisen—the census taker—and his larger estimate of human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little stories of the 'Four Million'." [15](P25) The characters of the story are mainly the lower class who struggle to make a living in sadness, impoverished, crucial and unjust society. Whether good or bad, provide for its people, some people corrupted, some still stood at the very first place, keeping pure hearted and self-sacrificed. Different changes found expression in different character behaviors. In "The Gift of Magi", we readers are not only touched by the supreme of valuable love, but at the same time we get clues of how the consumption culture exert its impact on people's attitude toward the change of the society in that period. Concepts of social status are hidden behind the behaviors of consumption, thus creating a utopia that "everyone is equal before commodity". It seems that people could reestablish his or her social statues through consuming behaviors. Gift, sending to close friends or relatives to strengthen the bonds of relationship at the first place, then becomes a commodity that goes far beyond its real significance. Both Jim and Della's gifts are completely beyond their purchasing power. That would reflect people's attitude toward economy. Illuming in the tide of materialism, people pay much attention on consumption, even take it as an "adventure"[16](P145). The commodity-status relationship dominates people's mind. Though Della and Jim's buying gifts are greatly influenced by the consumption culture shift, the ending shows out the true love through their tough course of purchasing. Another example, from "The Cop and the Anthem", we can see the so-called "quality under law" at the end of 20 century is only superficial and unjust to everyone. The social disorder coexists with the prosperity of the social economy, which vividly justifies Soppy's morbid mindset, and distortion of the humanity. Let's take "The Romance of a Busy Broker" as an example again. The twist ending is not implausible and unreasonable. On the surface, it may seem an attraction and wry story, but on second thoughts, we find that the fundamental of Maxwell's characters lies in the capitalist economy. The real incentives of those brokers are their greed for money and their worship for mammon. In coincidence, the various humanity are indispensable part of the society or jungle universal. Under the social pressure, the roles express the complex humanity. Moreover, the twist endings foretell the fate of the capitalist society.

⒉ Plot Making Technique In American fiction, the cultivation of the short story runs throughout the 19th century, not as an orderly consecutive evolution, but as a process of incessantly elaborating the various possibilities of the genre. It goes from Washington Irving, to Edgar Allan Poe, to Nathaniel Hawthorn; after them comes Bret Harte, Henry James and later, Mark Twain, Jack London and finally O. Henry. The short story is the one fundamental and self-contained genre in American prose fiction, and the stories of O. Henry certainly makes their appearances in consequence of the prolonged and incessant cultivation of the genre. [17](P42) As a "plot maker" and designer of incident he is an amazing genius. No one can better him in holding the reader in "suspense". More than that, the reader scarcely knows that he is suspended, until at the very close of the story. O. Henry deliberately designs the little tricks with words, for he is a master of language and not its slave. The typical feature of O. Henry's stories is a twist of plot, which turns on an ironic or coincidental circumstance. His ultimate achievement is to create the twist ending by the plot making and compact structure. He arranges a story moving in one direction, and just when the reader is going to be convinced of the general direction of the narrative, which he takes for granted, the story is completely reversed. For example, in "The Ransom of Red Chief", two kidnappers, Sam and Bill make off with the little son of a prominent man. According to the general expectation, readers may assume that they will either obtain the ransom from the boy's father or kill the boy in the end. But the plot is totally different. The boy is such a nuisance that they agree to pay the boy's father to take him back because they can't stand him anymore. Although the plot far exceeds expectations, readers appreciate the cleverness of plot situation and ending a great deal while enjoying the delight of reading. In O. Henry's works, the events of some short stories are arranged in the specific order of occurrence by distorting the chronicle order in which they occurred, which exceed reader's normal expectation to the arrangement of those events in his works, make the ending unpredictable and strange. As a "plot maker" and designer of incident he is an amazing genius. No one can better him in holding the reader in "suspense". More than that, the reader scarcely knows that he is suspended, until at the very close of the story. O. Henry deliberately designs the little tricks with words, for he is a master of language and not its slave. The suspense in the story is usually employed in the plot. It is the seemingly insignificant characters that finally become the notable figures that rouse readers ponder. In "The Last Leaf", Mr.Behrman who is only mentioned in only a short paragraph in the middle of the story to show who he is, and two paragraph tell the reader his rage about Sue 's fully thought. The main theme of the story is that Sue takes the last fallen ivy leaf as the end of her life. Before they know the end, readers will no doubt ask some questions. How does Sue's illness? Why does the leaf stick against the wall? Does the leaf fall down? Does Sue die? Why does the author mention Mr.Behrman? The last paragraph reveals. All suspense dissolves. The leave is painted by Behrman, while Sue lives. But the old painter died in hopeless pain by Pneumonia, or rather, to rescue Sue. He has to withstand tough wind and heavy shower and the life-long masterpiece paid off by his life. When we find the plausibility of ending in the previous passage, when Mr. Pneumonia wais called in, the Johsey scarcely moves, only looking through the small Dutch windowpanes at the blank side of the next brick house, the "blank side" of brick later provides the location for Mr.Behrman's masterpiece, the description of Mr.Behrman. He is past 60 and has a Micheal Angeo's Moses

beard curling down from the head of a satyr along the body of an imp. "Micheal Angeo's Moses" leaves readers an impression of artistic potential. "Imp" can explain why he was so weak to fight against disease. [18](P78) The compact structure is O. Henry's outstanding writing technique. Events in the story are closely connected as chains of rings, which make readers eagerly interested in the ending of the story. As soon as the high light of the reverse of plots, the story ends without any redundant explanations. In "The Last Leaf", the description of Mr.Behrman, the true hero, only takes up 500 words in more than 5000 words. Meanwhile, the story dismisses a part, rousing us readers a great deal of imagination: How can old man, above 60 years old stand on the ladder, drawing a leaf on the wall in the dreadfully storming night, while his "shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold."?[19](P173) Therefore, the main stream of O. Henry's works is easily perceived: the suspense in addition to wry humor ending is his main rhetoric method. Ⅳ.Comment on the Twist Ending ⒈ Humanity Are Fully-depicted Most of O. Henry's stories of News York City make the point that the humble little insignificant people of New York are admirable and their lives are worthy of our attention and interest. As O. Henry implies, they are as respectable as the member of the Four Hundred. Everyday they are busy dealing with dull routines; they show their sympathy and love through so tiny things. O. Henry said, "There are stories in everything; I've got some of my best yarns from park benches lamp ports, and newspaper stands."[20](P28) Thus, the specified social condition and particular circle of people O. Henry observes in most of O. Henry's stories, the motives that cause them to act are mostly concerned with money, the hunger for money or the possession of money. In the "Gilded Time" in 1890s America, materialism prevailed to become the center of American life. The social value changed: The more money a person gains, the more successful he is. No matter how he has got the money. So the characters described in his works, no matter kind or evil, are to some extend linked purely with money. Compared with Shakespeare's work, O. Henry' works has seemingly less grandeur, for they may seldom relate to feud, patriotism, and national zeal. Compared with Allen Poe, the scene in the story is less thrilling; compared with Mark Twain, the stories are often less endowed with critic argument, rarely shaking the fundamental capitalism directly. The tone of the writing is mild, ironic with humor; the plots are rarely complex; endings are mostly referred to a variety of "happy ending". So in many people's opinion, characters depicted by O. Henry are not fully depicted, most of the personalities of the characters are easily understood. It seems that O. Henry focus on a narrow range of plots. Meanwhile, the twist endings make O. Henry a writer who stresses on plot-making technique too much but neglects human being inner-mind description. But for my part, O. Henry does not even set out false tricks as is commonly done in mystery stories, but operate with the help of ambiguities, half-statement or barely noticeable details which turn out at the end to have been highly significant. Walter Pater speaks that O. Henry's best stories are perfect illustration----of "that architectural conception of the work which perceives the end in the beginning and never lose sight of it, and in every part is conscious of all the rest, till the last sentence does but, with undiminished vigor, unfold and justify the first."[21] Actually, there is neither splendid scenes of social upheavals nor complicated intercourse of theme in the stories. But only the totally reversed ending in the seemingly insignificant people's story. But that is the

most important part that touches the tenderness of humanity. We often ask ourselves some questions like "What is the true friendship?" "What's true love in our misery?" Their inspiration from the story changes our view on life and society. The human virtues or human defects spark the essence of humanity, or reflect the attainment of character, make the humanity fully depicted. ⒉ Twist Ending Combined with Wry Humor to Create "Smile with Tears" O. Henry, a great designer, is skillful enough to dye some color of pink in a tragedy, or kind of sadness in comedy. O. Henry's stories are "humorous encyclopedia of American life". [22](P61) This means that this work is full of various humors, sometimes even with exaggeration. It fully discloses the essence of American society: the weak are the prey of the strong, which is regarded as the law of the jungle universally. Right and wrong are confused, good and evil are disordered; Materialism and individualism dominate people's mind. This writing technique makes his work enjoy the fame of "Smile with Tears". However, to illustrate humanity, O. Henry perfectly combines wry humor and twist ending. In "The Cop and the Anthem", Soapy unfortunately trieds every means to make trouble in order to be arrested by the police to be sent to "the island". He fails to cause the attention of the policemen because "they seemed to regard him as a king who could not do wrong." [23](P66) On his bench in Madison Square, Soapy moves uneasily, when wild geese honk high of nights, and when women without sealskin coats grow kind to their husband. When Soapy moves uneasily on his bench in the park, you may know that winter is near at hand. [24](P21) Such examples can be found throughout the story. These sentences seem to be talked about very delightly and casually to make the story appear to be a comedy. But meanwhile, we can also feel the sadness and helplessness of the hero Soapy. Readers are seduced by humor language and stories plots step by step, but finally cannot help laughing, but with pitiful tears. Another example: But if home be the other kind, let it be wide and long—enter you at the Golden Gate, hang your hat on Hatteras, your cape on Cape Horn and go out by the Labrador. [25](P42) The humorous paragraph describes the congested conditions of a room where the hero and heroin live in the "The Service of Love", the story tells of an earnest young pair of art students, the Lattabees, who prop up each other's courage when their funds run out by pretending to have lucked into a steady income from their professional skill in painting and music. But it turns out that Delia's service has been ironing shirts in a laundry while Joe has been firing the furnace in the same building. Readers are not surprised to find out how precious their genuine love for each other is. Monetarily they were poor, but they are mentally wealthy. We may laugh with tears after finishing reading the story. O. Henry carries an abundant good humor with hum and sees the bright and amusing side of things. O. Henry is not the comic wit that explodes the reader into a huge guffaw of laughter and vanishes. His humor and twist ending are of that deep quality that smiles at life itself and mingles our amusement with our tears. Ⅴ.Conclusion O. Henry focuses on the poverty-stricken life and spiritual depression of common people. He takes great sympathy on them, with dissatisfaction with the greediness of the rich and the noble. O. Henry is adept at seizing and grasping the typical scenes in life, in which each episode of the life of the characters that had been in dilemma and confronted fatal decision was presented. Through

this, he not only chiefly portrays the hero's mentality but also fully reveals the inner contradiction of life. Finally, the human virtues and defects emerge from the twist ending. That not only arouses readers ponder about the humanity but also earns O. Henry's story fame of "smile with tears". Henry not only widens the experience of his readers, he also restates the verities that exist wherever people continue to strive for truth and beauty in life. The humanity reflected from the twist ending makes his stories at their best an influence for the furthering of those ideals that still tend to command the allegiance of civilized men. O. Henry is the "founder of American stories". His works are like a mirror of American society at that time. A multiple of reflections are rippling through the years passing by. The plots in O. Henry's works appear to be nothing special at first glance. Nevertheless, read those to the ending and you will find something unusual out of what seems to be too ordinary. I would like to say, his works are full of depth in portraying an unfathomable humanity of character. In a nutshell, O. Henry's artistic charms will everlast and be viewed as a perpetual encyclopedia of American life. His works are the best urn of humanity as well as the reflection of society from the twist ending. Bibliography [1] Taylor, Barry(ed.) American Short Stories[M]. Longman Group Limited .1969.P61 [2] Stephen Leacock. The Literary Structure of an O. Henry Short[A]. [3] 张贞梅. 从<爱的牺牲>和<麦琪的礼物> 评欧亨利的艺术手法[J].山西:淮北煤师院学 报, 2001.NO.1: P128 [4] 马军. 论欧亨利的创作风格[J]. 沈阳:沈阳师大学报, 2005.NO.3. P28 [5] 赵莉, 黄春妮. 欧亨利作品导读 [M] . 武汉:武汉大学出版社 2003. P3, [6]同[5]:P41 [7] O. Henry. 欧亨利短篇小说 [M]. 青海:青海出版社, 2004. P59 [8]同[7]:P71 [9]同[7]:P23 [10]同[5]:P73 [11] 朱文,朱碧恒. 欧亨利作品赏析 [M]. 北京:中国和平出版社 1996. P66 [12] O. Henry and Twist Ending[A] [13] 欧亨利. 欧亨利短篇小说精选 [M].北京:人民文学出版社, 2003. P17 [14] 毛德信.美国小说史纲 [M]. 北京:北京出版社 1988.P62 [15] 陈华,何晓曦译注. 四百万 [C]. 上海:外国教学与研究出版社, 1988. P25 [16]同[5]:P145 [17]同[1]:P42 [18]同[7]:P78 [19]同[5]:P173 [20] Votterler, Thomas (ed.) Short Story Criticism (volume 5)[M]. Gale Research Inc.1990. P28 [21] William Sydney Porter [22]同[1]:P61 [23] 赵书颖. "含泪的笑" "含笑的泪" 与 浅析欧亨利的主题[J].黑龙江教育学院学报, 2004


An Analysis of the Cop and the Anthem

An Analysis of the Cop and the Anthem_幼儿读物...He wrote more than 300 short stories in his ...O. Henry's trademark is the surprising ending ...


On Jane Austen’s Views of Love in Pride and ...the Humanity in Robinson Crusoe The Composing O. Henrys Works A View of Jane Austen'...

On the Character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice

On the Character of Shylock in The Merchant of ...But with the times of Rome ending and the ...What?s more, he can ignore humanity and sense ...

Insensibility of Humanity is the Root of Emily

Insensibility of Humanity is the Root of Emily_...Emily's Tragedy ———A Brief Analysis on a ...and the local custom of the South.His works ...

A Stylistic Analysis of The Cop and the Anthem 英语...

The short story ―The Cop and the Anthem” is...Henrys in the 20th –century. It embodies ...A twist of plot, which turns on an ironic or...

Reading the Short Story of Nathaniel Hawthorne

history and real life of New England., focusing on humanity and the ...and in-depth analysis of the characters and stories details of The Birth...

In the begaining of the humanity

In the begaining of the humanity_英语考试_外语学习_教育专区。In the begin...On the other hand, we keep touch with others by sending massages, which...

Exodus 21 22-25 – Does it deny the humanity of the

the humanity of the_调查/报告_表格/模板_实用...the woman's husband shall impose on him, and ...Thus the noun form (yeled), used 89 times in...

网站首页 | 网站地图
All rights reserved Powered by 学霸学习网
copyright ©right 2010-2021。