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O. henry eng 102 6 p.m. ard
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O. henry eng 102 6 p.m. ard


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  • 1. O. Henry 1862 - 1910
  • 2. ● “O. Henry” first used as pen name around 1884; derived from his frequent calling to the cat of the family he was living with at the time: “Oh, Henry!” ● Born William Sidney Porter ● Later changed legal spelling of middle name to Sydney ● Born September 11th , 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina ● Father: Dr. Algernon Sidney Porter (1825-1888) ● Mother: Mary Jane Virginia Swaim Porter (1833-1865) died of tuberculosis
  • 3. ● Spent childhood in North Carolina; moved with his father to his grandmother’s house after his mother died ● Only formal education from aunt Evelina Maria Porter (Miss Lina)’s elementary school; and Lindsey Street high School, though Miss Lina continued to tutor him ● Quit school at 15 (1879) to work as bookkeeper in his Uncle Clark’s store: W. C. Porter and Company Drug Store ● Remainder of education came from Porter’s love of reading and “school of life”
  • 4. ● Became a licensed pharmacist at the drugstore ● Young adulthood: known around town for drawings and cartoons of the townspeople ● Moved to Texas at age 20, worked on a sheep ranch, and lived with the family of Richard M. Hall ● Work on ranch gave Porter knowledge he later used in several of his short stories ● 1884: moved to Austin, lived with Joseph Harrell and family ● The Harrell Family's cat, Henry, inspired Porter's nickname *Not an actual picture of Porter calling the cat OH, HENRY!
  • 5. ● 1887: began work as draftsman in General Land Office – headed by Richard Hall ● Also 1887: married Athol Estes, daughter Margaret Worth Porter born in 1889; wife died later, in 1897 ● 1891: began work as a teller with First National Bank in Austin ● between 1891 - 1895: founded the Rolling Stone (no connection with today’s well- known magazine); humorous weekly, unsuccessful at the time ● 1895: columnist for the Houston Daily Post
  • 6. ● 1896: Porter accused of/indicted for embezzlement of $4000 (about $135,000 today) from bank position ● left his wife and daughter; fled to New Orleans and Honduras ● returned upon learning that his wife was sick; she died shortly after his return ● 1898: Porter found guilty of embezzlement from bank – though it’s uncertain if he actually did it; sentenced to five years in Ohio prison; released early, 1901-1902
  • 7. ● Several short stories written in prison; came out of prison going by “O. Henry” to hide his true past ● 1902: moved to New York City ● Wrote stories weekly for the New York World magazine, as well as several stories for other magazines New York World Magazine cover
  • 8. ● 1907: remarried to his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Lindsey Coleman ● 1908: separated from Sarah ● 1910: O. Henry died poor and an alcoholic; cause of death is listed as cirrhosis of the liver ● Funeral in New York; buried in Ashville, North Carolina ● His last words are said to have been: "Turn up the lights —I don't want to go home in the dark."
  • 9. More about his stories... ● Over 300 stories published in ten years! Several were still published after his death ● Most famous: “The Gift of the Magi” – poor couple secretly sell possessions to buy a gift for one another at Christmastime; wife sells hair to buy husband watch chain, while husband sells watch to buy nice pair of combs - IRONY
  • 10. Writing Characteristics, Style, etc. ● Realistic detail from real-life experiences ● Lower- and middle-class workers ● Dry humor, wit, play on words ● Heavy irony; coincidences, twist/unpredictable endings
  • 11. ● O. Henry Awards established by Doubleday and Society of Arts and Sciences – annual collection of short stories in his honor ● The hall where O. Henry was convicted is now part of the administrative headquarters of the University of Texas – rightly named O. Henry Hall ● O. Henry Hotel, with early 1900's setting, Greensboro, NC
  • 12. Quotes! "Write what you like; there is no other rule." "Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of life." "When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard."
  • 13. References ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● http://online.wsj. com/article/SB10001424052748704852004575258824174766374.html ● ● ● ●