Tag Archives: literary criticism

The Skylight Room by O. Henry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

220px-william_sydney_porterBorn William Sidney Porter, this master of short stories is much better known   under his pen name “O. Henry.” He was born September 11, 1862 in N. Carolina. He has become a symbol to represent a recognizable species of short story writing. He wrote nearly three hundred stories. Most of O. Henry` s were translated into foreign languages. His stories are very American in language. And one of the most popular and famous story is “The Skylight Room”

PLOT SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Introduction of the rooms and Miss Leeson, without a choice, buys the “skylight room” with money she can afford.

RISING ACTION

Meets Billy Jackson the Star and fellow lodgers

CLIMAX

Job becomes scarce so Miss Leeson goes  to her room without food, and dying from starvation

FALLING ACTION

Fellow lodgers finds her in her room and call an ambulance.

RESOLUTION

In typical O. Henry fashion, we get the surprise ending – gets treatment from  a doctor named William Jackson.

SETTING

New York City  probably in early 1990s.

CHARACTERS

  • Ms. Leeson
  • Mrs. Parker
  • Mr. Hoover
  • Ms. Longnecker
  • Mr. Skidder
  • Clara
  • William Jackson

POINT of VIEW

Third person

CONFLICT

  • MAN Vs. CIRCUMSTANCES (Dominant)
  • MAN Vs. SOCIETY

SYMBOLISM

  • Billy Jackson – her hopes and dreams
  • The skylight room – a metaphor of her life

THEME

The reality of life and our hopes

“No matter what situation you are in, you should always have an optimistic heart”

 

VOCABULARY

  • Lambrequin- a short piece of decorative jewelry hanging above a door.
  • Smite – strike with a firm blow
  • Cicerone- a tour guide, esp. one who explains antiquities
  • Contemptuous- showing contempt
  • Roguish- characteristic of a dishonest and unprincipled person
  • Tocsin- an alarm bell or signal
  • Cabalistic- referring to meanings of esoteric and mythical interpretations
  • Whimsical- playfully quaint or fanciful
  • Implacable- unstopable
  • Corpulence- the state of being fat

 

 

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An Angel in Disguise by T.S. Arthur

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timothy Shay Arthur was born on June 6, 1809 and died on March 6, 1885. He was a popular 19th century American author, most famous for his temperance novel: “Ten Nights in Bar-Room and What I Saw There”(1854). Arthur’s ideas may seem simplistic or even oppressive today but many readers in  his time found him relevant, helpful, reassuring and compelling.

PLOT 

Introduction

  • Three children: John, Kate and Maggie leave alone, when their mother die in a drunken fit right in front of their eyes.

Rising Action

  • After the funeral, John and Kate was taken separately by two villagers while nobody wants to take care of the sick Maggie; until Mr. Thompson.

Climax

  • Mr. Thompson arrives at his house carrying Maggie but his wife doesn’t like it and wants the child to be sent to the poorhouse.

Falling Action

  • Mr. Thompson finds her wife talking to Maggie. After their supper talks to Maggie and then later on Mrs. Thompson arrives with the child’s food. Mrs. Thompson decided to let Maggie stay within two days before sending the child to the poorhouse.

Resolution

  • After how many days, Mr. Thompson didn’t see the Guardian’s of the Poor and never saw them. Decides to let Maggie stay and live with them at their house.

CHARACTERS

  • Maggie
  • John
  • Kate
  • Mr. Thompson
  • Mrs. Thompson
  • Farmer Jones
  • Mrs. Ellis

SETTING

  • No particular name of the place
  • Village

SOCIAL CONTEXT

  • In a village where people aren’t very wealthy

ATMOSPHERE

  • It’s a dark and gloomy place (based on the description)

Tone

  • Melancholic to Joyful

Mood

  • Pitiful, Hopeful

Symbolism

  •  Hovel – poor
  • Poorhouse – represents the sick and helpless children

Imagery – Visual Imagery

Theme – Compassion is the primary theme of the short story.

  • Compassion

VOCABULARY

  • Idleness- the state of being indolence; laziness
  • Temperance- Moderation of passion; patience; calmness
  • Scoffed- to jeer; laugh at with contempt and derision
  • Poorhouse- a charitable institution where poor or homeless people are lodged
  • Saintly- like a characteristic of a saint
  • Mended- to repair
  • Shrink- to become smaller
  • Apt- suitable, appropriate; fit
  • Errand- a trip to accomplish a small mission or to do some business
  • Countenance – Appearance, esp. The feature and expression of the face