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Author Study We will be reading several works by a very famous American writer. O. Henry.
Author Study We will be reading several works by a very famous American writer O. Henry
O. Henry was the pen name of the American writer William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 - June 5, 1910). O. Henry's short stories are well known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings.
HE STARTED HIS WRITING CAREER WHILE IN JAIL In jail, Will Porter worked as a pharmacist. He also started writing under the pseudonym of O. Henry. He sent his stories to a friend in New Orleans, who sent them in turn to magazines in New York. Nobody knew these wonderful stories came from a prisoner! Although he went through a tough time - losing his wife to tuberculosis and being sent to jail shortly after - his stories are far from being dark and depressing. In fact, they are light, humorous, surprising, uplifting.
GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY? Will was working as a teller at the First National Bank of Austin when an examiner came and found discrepancies in his books, although there has been much debate about his actual guilt. The bank was clearly mismanaged; he just happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
HIS VOCABULARY AND LITERARY KNOWLEDGE COMPARE TO SHAKESPEARE! Young Will Porter used to carry an unabridged dictionary and read it as a book. He would look up words he didn't know, and was fascinated by words. His vocabulary skills are sometimes compared to Shakespeare's. Yet, he never attended college and left school at fifteen years old to work for his uncle's drugstore...
His stories are filled with witty expressions, seldom used words, and allusions to other pieces of fiction, such as Shakespeare, Greek mythology, Arabian Nights, contemporary "dime novels" (cheap paperback novels of the late 1800's), and Kipling, among others.
He uses dialects in such a way we can almost hear his characters talk. His choice of words and metaphors surprise and delight. In Texas, he learned French, German, and Spanish well enough to use some foreign vocabulary when a story calls for it.
HE POPULARIZED THE "TWIST ENDING“ O. Henry was sometimes called the "American De Maupassant." His stories end with a twist of fate, or a revelation of who his characters really are, or an unexpected turn that surprises and delights, draws tears or laughters - or both - from his readers. Yet, his stories are about ordinary people, in ordinary situations. He tells the story of a hobo, or a grafter, or even a shop girl, in their every day life.
O. Henry's Family FIRST WIFE: ATHOL ESTES Athol was only seventeen when she eloped and married O. Henry in 1887. In 1888, she gave birth to a son, who died a few hours after birth.In 1889, she gave birth to Margaret.On July 25th, 1897, Athol died after a seven-year battle with tuberculosis. SECOND WIFE: SARA LINDSAY COLEMAN In 1907, O. Henry married his childhood sweetheart. Margaret Worth Porter was O. Henry's only child. She was born on 9/30/1889, in Austin, Texas.
Meet the Author O. Henry Turn to page 150 in your big, red book.
“A Retrieved Reformation” By O. Henry
Connect to Your Life Think up a list of character in stories, books, and movies- or of people that you know- who change for the better or for the worse. How do you explain the reasons for the change in each of these characters? What do you think some of the most powerful motives for change are?
Building Background Banks played an important role in the economy of small towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The National Banking Act of 1863 helped establish a system of federally chartered banks. In the late 1800s, Will Porter, who would later take the pen name O. Henry, worked as a teller for the First National Back in Austin, Texas.
Focus Your Reading The plot of a story is usually set in motion by a conflict between opposing forces or characters. Internal ConflictExternal Conflict
Focus Your Reading As the story moves ahead, the conflict increases until the moment of greatest intensity- the climax, or turning point Climax
Focus Your Reading After the climax, the central conflict of the story is usually resolved in a part of the plot called the falling action. As you read, note how the conflict in “A Retrieved Reformation” is resolved. Climax Falling Action Resolution
Focus Your Reading Good readers draw connections between the different literary works that they read to help them understand the stories better and enjoy them more. All of the important aspects of stories may be compared including; plot, characters, setting, point of view, and theme. “A Retrieved Reformation”
Focus Your Reading As you read “A Retrieved Reformation,” note similarities and differences between the main characters of the story and those of “After Twenty Years.” Also think about point of view in the two stories. Is the point of view the same in each? How does the point of view affect the way each story is told? DIFFERANCES S I M I A R I T I E S “A Retrieved Reformation” DIFFERANCES
Words To Know Assiduously Compulsory Eminent Retribution Unperceived Balk Elusive Rehabilitate Unobtrusively Virtuous
Words To Know Using structural analysis (analyzing the structure) of a word can help you understand the meaning of the word. Indentifying the base word, prefixes, and suffixes will help you construct the meaning. Example: Reformation prefix + base + suffix word = re- + form + -ation againmake or create
Words To Know Rehabilitate= re- + habilitate (to enable) Retribution= re- + tribute (payment) + -ion Unobtrusively= un- + obtrusive (attraction attention) + -ly Unperceived= un- + perceive (to see) +-ed
Words To Know virtuous= virtue (goodness) + -ous Assiduously= assiduous (diligent) + -ly No affixes Balk Compulsory Elusive Eminent