O. Henry - разработка к серии уроков «Знакомство с английскими и американскими писателями» (с презентацией).
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Лазарева Елена Витальевна

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O. Henry

(1862-1910)

The real name of the writer was William Sidney Porter. He was born in Greenboro, North Carolina, USA, in the family of a doctor. He was brought up by his aunt because his mother died when he was a small boy. After finishing school at the age of fifteen, Porter worked as a clerk for five years in his uncle´s chemist shop in Greenboro. Then he went to Texas because he wanted to see new places. There he saw cowboys, prairies and mustangs, but it was not easy for him to find work. For two years he worked on a farm and then he became a clerk in an office and at last got a job in a small bank. During this period he studied languages and became interested in literature.

Soon he married and when a daughter was born to them, Porter was a happy husband and father, but his happiness did not last long.

One day a theft of a thousand dollars was discovered at the bank where he worked. Thought it was not he who had taken the money, Porter left the town and went to Central America where he stayed for some time. But when he heard that his wife was very ill, he returned home and was put into prison for three years.

After his wife´s death Porter very often thought about his little daughter. She was living with her relatives and was told that her father had gone very far away and would not return soon. The thought that she would not receive a Christmas present from him that year was a sad one. To get some money for a present, Porter decided to write a story and send it to one of the American magazines. The story “Whistling Dick´s Christmas Present” was published in 1899, and Porter’s daughter received a Christmas present. Porter had signed the story “O. Henry”- the first pen-name that came into his head. While still in prison, he published many other stories.

In 1901, when he was released from prison, he settled in New York, and continued writing short stories for different magazines. Very soon he became one of the most popular short-story writers in America.

O. Henry‘s stories won great popularity and have been translated into many languages. Most of them have unexpected ending and the reader is always taken by surprise.

During the short period of his literary activity, O. Henry wrote 273 short stories and one novel, “Cabbages and Kings” (1904).

Among his most famous stories are:

"The Gift of the Magi" about a young couple who are short of money but desperately want to buy each other Christmas gifts. 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.

"The Ransom of Red Chief", in which two men kidnap a boy of ten. The boy turns out to be so bratty and obnoxious that the desperate men ultimately pay the boy's father $250 to take him back.

"The Cop and the Anthem" about a New York City hobo named Soapy, who sets out to get arrested so that he can be a guest of the city jail instead of sleeping out in the cold winter. Despite efforts at petty theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct, and "mashing" 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—and is ironically charged for loitering and sentenced to three months in prison.

"A Retrieved Reformation", which tells the tale of safecracker Jimmy Valentine, recently freed from 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. 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 Spencer, a shoemaker. Just as he is about to leave to deliver his specialized tools to an old associate, a lawman that recognizes him arrives at the bank. Jimmy and his fiancée and her family are at the bank, inspecting a new safe, when a child accidentally gets locked inside the airtight vault. 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.

"The Caballero's Way", in which Porter's most famous character, the Cisco Kid, is introduced. It was first published in 1907 in the July issue of everybody’s Magazine and collected in the book Heart of the West that same year. In later film and TV depictions, the Kid would be portrayed as a dashing adventurer, perhaps skirting the edges of the law, but primarily on the side of the angels. In the original short story, the only story by Porter to feature the character, the Kid is a murderous, ruthless border desperado, whose trail is dogged by a heroic Texas Ranger. The twist ending is, unusually for Porter, tragic.

In his stories O. Henry describes amusing incidents of every-day life in large cities, on the roads of America. In most of his stories he does not touch upon important social problems, but the author’s sympathy is with the common people of America, whose life he knew very well. His greatest wish was that people should be happy.

Taken as a whole, the work of O. Henry is bourgeois in its spirit.


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Слайд 1

O. Henry (1862-1910)

Слайд 2

The real name of the writer was William Sidney Porter. He was born in Greenboro, North Carolina, USA, in the family of a doctor. He was brought up by his aunt because his mother died when he was a small boy. After finishing school at the age of fifteen, Porter worked as a clerk for five years in his uncle´s chemist shop in Greenboro. Then he went to Texas because he wanted to see new places. There he saw cowboys, prairies and mustangs, but it was not easy for him to find work. For two years he worked on a farm and then he became a clerk in an office and at last got a job in a small bank. During this period he studied languages and became interested in literature.

Слайд 3

Soon he married and when a daughter was born to them, Porter was a happy husband and father, but his happiness did not last long. One day a theft of a thousand dollars was discovered at the bank where he worked. Thought it was not he who had taken the money, Porter left the town and went to Central America where he stayed for some time. But when he heard that his wife was very ill, he returned home and was put into prison for three years. After his wife´s death Porter very often thought about his little daughter. She was living with her relatives and was told that her father had gone very far away and would not return soon. The thought that she would not receive a Christmas present from him that year was a sad one. To get some money for a present, Porter decided to write a story and send it to one of the American magazines. The story “Whistling Dick´s Christmas Present” was published in 1899, and Porter’s daughter received a Christmas present. Porter had signed the story “O. Henry”- the first pen-name that came into his head. While still in prison, he published many other stories.


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In 1901, when he was released from prison, he settled in New York, and continued writing short stories for different magazines. Very soon he became one of the most popular short-story writers in America. O. Henry‘s stories won great popularity and have been translated into many languages. Most of them have unexpected ending and the reader is always taken by surprise. During the short period of his literary activity, O. Henry wrote 273 short stories and one novel, “Cabbages and Kings” (1904). Portrait of Porter used as frontispiece in the posthumous collection of short stories Waifs and Strays

Слайд 2

A film was made in the 1950s with his better-known stories called O. Henry's Full House. The cast included Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe and Dale ...


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Памятник О. Генри на родине писателя в Гринсборо (Северная Каролина). И именно этой чести было удостоено творчество писателя О. Генри. Его каменная книга высотой 2 метра стоит в раскрытом виде в США в городе Гринсборо. In his stories O. Henry describes amusing incidents of every-day life in large cities, on the roads of America. In most of his stories he does not touch upon important social problems, but the author’s sympathy is with the common people of America, whose life he knew very well. His greatest wish was that people should be happy.

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