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Short Stories By O' Henry: "Masters Of Arts," "The Man Higher Up," , "After Twenty Years."

1169 words - 5 pages

When you spend time in jail, you get a new view on life. Since O' Henry spent some time in jail for embezzling, his stories all seem to have a lawless element. Running from the law seems to be a big part of his short stories, and even more than his famous surprise endings, the obvious similarities between the stories, especially the lawlessness element, obscures the plots as just details. When you consider that 2 of the plots are about these grafting schemes, and the third one implies it as much, the themes are different, and they each are individual, but this is one way to convey three messages.I will be writing about three short stories, all by O' Henry. "Masters Of Arts," "The Man Higher Up," and the one that we all know, "After Twenty Years." The plots are similar; they all have to do with white collar crime, "Grafting".In "Masters of Arts," a clever machinator, Jimmy Keogh, decides that a president of a South American nation has a very weak detriment to his personality; his pride, and decides to exploit it. He finds a budding young artist from New York, Carolus White, lies about his fame in the US, and finally secures 10,000 dollars for Carolus to do a obscenely tasteless portrait of this president. Carolus cannot do it, he has artistic standards, and therefore loses the money. To create a contrast to this, the machinator takes a incriminating photo of the president, and proceeds to blackmail the president. However, at the moment of receiving the money, Keogh rips up the photo and does not request nor recive the money. He cannot blackmail, he has "standards".Juxtaposing this is the story "The Man Higher Up". The entire story takes place in New York, where two friends are meeting over plates of pasta. One friend, Jeff Peters, is telling our narrator about his adventures grafting, where Jeff is saying that his pride took him away from burglary, but then cheated a lot of money away from a burglar.Then our story, "After Twenty Years," a story with a criminal and a old friend who wants to turn him in, but can't, so he gets another person, a plain clothes man, to do the job.The settings are very similar; at one point in all three stories, the main character is in New York. In two of the stories, the entire story, to some extent, is in New York. The time setting is also the same for all three stories, 1865-1950. It seems that O' Henry wrote what he knew; his time and his place of habitat for the latter years of his life.The characters are all very different in their habits and their personalities. It seems that O' Henry gives enough information to do an in-depth character analysis for each of the main characters, even though they are short stories. In MOA, we have two characters, characterized indirectly, because their actions seem too hasty. Jimmy Keough seems like a brash young man in which the question is how low he can go with his plots, but he turns down $20,000 for simple personal standards. Carolus White desperately wants to go to Europe to...

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