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Why does o henry call his story

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. He changed the spelling of his middle name to Sydney in 1898. His parents were Dr. William's parents had married on April 20, 1858. When William was three, his mother died after birthing her third child, and he and his father moved into the home of his paternal grandmother.

As a child, Porter was always why does o henry call his story, everything from classics to dime novels ; his favorite works were Lane 's translation of One Thousand and One Nights and Burton 's Anatomy of Melancholy. He then enrolled at the Lindsey Street High School. His aunt continued to tutor him until he was 15.

In 1879, he started working in his uncle's drugstore in Greensboro, and on August 30, 1881, at the age of 19, Porter was licensed as a pharmacist. At the drugstore, he also showed his why does o henry call his story artistic talents by sketching the townsfolk.

Hall to Texas in March 1882, hoping that a change of air would help alleviate a persistent cough he had developed. He took up residence on the sheep ranch of Richard Hall, James' son, in La Salle County and helped out as a shepherd, ranch hand, cook, and baby-sitter.

Why does O. Henry call Jim and Della the Magi?

While on the ranch, he learned bits of Spanish and German from the mix of immigrant ranch hands. He also spent time reading classic literature. Porter's health did improve. He traveled with Richard to Austin, Texas in 1884, where he decided to remain and was welcomed into the home of Richard's friends, Joseph Harrell and his wife.

Porter resided with the Harrells for three years. He went to work briefly for the Morley Brothers Drug Company as a pharmacist. He also began writing as a sideline and wrote many of his early stories in the Harrell house. As a young bachelor, Porter led an active social life in Austin. He was known for his wit, story-telling and musical talents. He played both the guitar and mandolin.

He sang in the choir at St. David's Why does o henry call his story Church and became a member of the "Hill City Quartette", why does o henry call his story group of young men who sang at gatherings and serenaded young women of the town.

Porter family in early 1890s—Athol, Margaret daughterWilliam Porter met and began courting Athol Estes, 17 years old and from a wealthy family. Her mother objected to the match because Athol was ill, suffering from tuberculosis. Smoot, pastor of the Central Presbyterian Churchwhere the Estes family attended church. The couple continued to participate in musical and theater groups, and Athol encouraged her husband to pursue his writing. Athol gave birth to a son in 1888, who died hours after birth, and then daughter Margaret Worth Porter in September 1889.

The salary was enough to support his family, but he continued his why does o henry call his story to magazines and newspapers. In the GLO buildinghe began developing characters and plots for such stories as "Georgia's Ruling" 1900and "Buried Treasure" 1908. The castle-like building he worked in was even woven into some of his tales such as "Bexar Scrip No.

His job at the GLO was a political appointment by Hall. Hall ran for governor in the election of 1890 but lost. Porter resigned on January 21, 1891, the day after the new governor, Jim Hoggwas sworn in.

The bank was operated informally, and Porter was apparently careless in keeping his books and may have embezzled funds.

Why does the author title the story "The Gift of the Magi"?

In 1894, he was accused by the bank of embezzlement and lost his job but was not indicted at the time. He then worked full-time on his humorous weekly called The Rolling Stone, which he started while working at the bank.

The Rolling Stone featured satire on life, people and politics and included Porter's short stories and sketches.

Although eventually reaching a top circulation of 1,500, The Rolling Stone failed in April 1895 because the paper never provided an adequate income. However, his writing and drawings had caught the attention of the editor at the Houston Post. Porter and his family moved to Houston in 1895, where he started writing for the Post. Porter gathered ideas for his column by loitering in hotel lobbies and observing and talking to people there. This was a technique he used throughout his writing career.

While he was in Houston, federal auditors audited the First National Bank of Austin and found the embezzlement shortages that why does o henry call his story to his firing. A federal indictment followed, and he was arrested on charges of embezzlement.

Flight and return[ why does o henry call his story ] Porter in his 30s Porter's father-in-law posted bail to keep him out of jail.

He was due to stand trial on July 7, 1896, but the day before, as he was changing trains to get to the courthouse, an impulse hit him. He fled, first to New Orleans and later to Honduras, with which the United States had no extradition treaty at that time. William lived in Honduras for only six months, until January 1897. There he became friends with Al Jenningsa notorious train robber, who later wrote a book about their friendship. Unfortunately, Athol became too ill to meet Porter in Honduras as he had planned.

When he learned that his wife was dying, Porter returned to Austin in February 1897 and surrendered to the court, pending trial. Athol Estes Porter died from tuberculosis then known as consumption on July 25, 1897.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and imprisoned on March 25, 1898, at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. Porter was a licensed pharmacist and was able to work in the prison hospital why does o henry call his story the night druggist.

He was given his own room in the hospital wing, and there is no record that he actually spent time in the cell block of the prison. He had 14 stories published under various pseudonyms while he was in prison but was becoming best why does o henry call his story as "O. A friend of his in New Orleans would forward his stories to publishers so that they had no idea that the writer was imprisoned.

Porter was released on July 24, 1901, for good behavior after serving three years. He reunited with his daughter Margaret, now age 11, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Athol's parents had moved after Porter's conviction. Margaret was never told that her father why does o henry call his story been in prison—just that he had been away on business. Later life and death[ edit ] Porter's most prolific writing period started in 1902, when he moved to New York City to be near his publishers.

Why Does O'Henry Call His Story "the Gift of the Magi"

Why does o henry call his story there, he wrote 381 short stories. His wit, characterization, and plot twists were adored by his readers but often panned by critics. Porter married again in 1907 to childhood sweetheart Sarah Sallie Lindsey Coleman, whom he met again after revisiting his why does o henry call his story state of North Carolina.

Sarah Lindsey Coleman was herself a writer and wrote a romanticized and fictionalized version of their correspondence and courtship in her novella Wind of Destiny. In 1909, Sarah left him, and he died on June 5, 1910, of cirrhosis of the livercomplications of diabetesand an enlarged heart. She married cartoonist Oscar Cesare of New York in 1916; they were divorced four years later.

She died of tuberculosis in 1927 and is buried next to her father. Stories[ edit ] Portrait of Porter used as frontispiece in the posthumous collection of short stories Waifs and Strays O. Henry's stories frequently have surprise endings. In his day he was called the American answer to Guy de Maupassant. While both authors wrote plot twist endings, O. Henry's stories were considerably more playful, and are also known for their witty narration.

Henry's stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: Henry's work is wide-ranging, and his characters can be found roaming the cattle-lands of Texas, exploring the art of the con-man, or investigating the tensions of class and wealth in turn-of-the-century New York.

Henry had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing it with an incredible economy and grace of language.

Why Does O Henry Call His Story the Gift of the Magi? Essay

Some of his best and least-known work is contained in Cabbages and Kingsa series of stories each of which explores some individual aspect of life in a paralytically sleepy Central American town, while advancing some why does o henry call his story of the larger plot and relating back one to another. Cabbages and Kings was his first collection of stories, followed by The Four Million. The second collection opens with a reference to Ward McAllister 's "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. Henry, everyone in New York counted. He had an obvious affection for the city, which he called "Bagdad-on-the-Subway", [7] and many of his stories are set there—while others are set in small towns or in other cities. His final work was "Dream", a short story intended for the magazine The Cosmopolitan but left incomplete at the time of his death.

Unbeknownst to Jim, Della sells her most valuable possession, her beautiful hair, in order to buy a platinum fob chain for Jim's watch; while unbeknownst to Della, Jim sells his own most valuable possession, his watch, to buy jeweled combs for Della's hair.

The essential premise of this story has been copied, re-worked, parodied, and otherwise re-told countless times in the century since it was written. Despite efforts at petty theft, vandalism, disorderly why does o henry call his story, and "flirting" with a young prostitute, Soapy fails to draw the attention of the police. Disconsolate, he pauses in front of a church, where an organ anthem inspires him to clean up his life; ironically, he is charged for loitering why does o henry call his story sentenced to three months in prison.

He goes to a town bank to case it before he robs it. As he walks to the door, he catches the eye of the banker's beautiful daughter.

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They immediately fall in love and Valentine decides to give up his criminal career. He moves into the town, taking up the identity of Ralph Why does o henry call his story, a shoemaker. Just as he is about to leave to deliver his specialized tools to an old associate, a lawman who recognizes him arrives at the bank. Knowing it will seal his fate, Valentine opens the safe to rescue the child.

However, much to Valentine's surprise, the lawman denies recognizing him and lets him go.