William Sidney Porter
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William Sidney Porter (1862-1910) O. Henry—one of the greatest short-noveltellers in the world
Life Introduction O Henry’s Works O Henry’s Features Brief Introduction to The Cop and the Anthem
Life Introduction (1) O Henry was born in North Carolina, in 1862. His father was a doctor and editor, his mother sometimes wrote poetry. He got little education but was much entertained as a boy by his maiden aunt who read stories to him much.
When 18, he went to Texas, a land of ranches and cowboys. He loved the country life. He worked in a drug store and then in a bank.
Life Introduction (2) Porter led an active social life in Austin, including membership in singing and drama groups. Porter was a good singer and musician. He played both the guitar and mandolin. Porter met and began courting Athol Estes, then seventeen years old and from a wealthy family. Her mother objected to the match because Athol was ill, suffering from tuberculosis. On July 1, 1887, Porter eloped with Athol to the home of Reverend R. K. Smoot, where they were married.
Life Introduction (3) He was quite productive and produced many works (273 short novels). He was very sociable and friendly, especially with children and poor people, and even with tramps (流浪汉）and thieves. Many of his stories tell about the lives of poor people in New York, as well as in other places.
O Henry’s Works 《A Service of Love》（《爱的牺 牲》） 《The Last Leaf》（《最后一片叶 子》） 《The Romance of a Busy Broker》 （《证券经纪人的罗曼史》） 《The Cop and the Anthem 》 （《警察与赞美诗》） 《The Gift of Magi》 《After 20 Years》（《20年之后》）
O Henry’s Features His novels depicted the poor life of people with a clear style and a keen observation of details. His stories are usually short. The plots are exceedingly clever and interesting; humor abounds, and the end is always surprising.
Many of his stories contain a great deal of slang and colloquial expression. Such forms of speech are used to give what is called local color. O. Henry's short stories are well known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings.
Lead-in Questions Are there any relations between “The Cop” And “The Anthem”? The cop is to cultivate people with violence while the anthem is to teach people with moral lessons. What are the backgrounds of the story? Winter is approaching, on his bench in Madison Square Soapy moved uneasily, his wish is to spend this winter in jail, where he can be boarded. Did Soapy “realize his wish” at end? Is it ironic?
Key Points and Difficulties Plot (beginning, rising action, climax, falling action) Language (humorous, satirical, ironic) Soapy’s psycological description
Plot The beginning: soapy, homeless, wished to be supplied with food and shelter in jail for the next three months. The rising action: Soapy tried all means to do something offensive (6 times), each is enough to put himself into prison. But he never succeded. The climax: after experiencing so many frustrations, he was purified by the Sabbath Anthem. He decided to begin a new life but dramatically was arrested by the police. The falling action
Six times of Incidences and Coincidences The first time: to enter a luxurious restaurant and expect to have a big dinner, but was pushed to th sidewalk. The second time: took a cobblestone and dashed it through the glass. Then he himself admited the crime but the policeman refused to believe him. The third time: had a big dinner in a small restaurant without paying money, hoping to be sent into prison. Instead, he got a big beat.
Question What are Sopy’s intentions for each plan? What is the result?
Six times of Incidences and Coincidences The fourth time: tried to be a scoundrel, bothering the lady. But it seemed that the lady is playing his joke.(prostitute) The fifth time: pretended to be a drunkard, carried on “disorderly conduct’ The sixth time: stole the umbrella, which was picked up by the present owner
Evaluate the Incidences and Coincidences They are unexpected but in reason. “a man with several crimes” is never acknowledged as “commiting crimes”. (dreams cannot be realized) The last time, when he became refreshed by the anthem and wished to restart his life. He was caught by the policeman. This formed a sharp contrast, and it was also the dramatic conflict of the novel.
The Social Significance Soapy is the representative of the lower class in American society. This novel is the true reflection of the lower class at that time. This novel is to criticize the capitalist’s hypocrisy, injustice and disorder.