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Stylistic Analysis-Two Thanksgiving Gentleman by O. Henry

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    O. Henry is one of the most famous American short story writers. O. Henry’s real name was William Sydney Porter and he was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on September 11, 1862. O. Henry’s short stories are famous for their surprise endings and humor. O. Henry’s wrote such classic short stories as The Ransom of Red Chief, “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Furnished Room”. His stories often have characters from opposite society levels: the wealthy and the poor, a policeman and a thief, a shop girl and a millionaire.

    Many of these stories end with a surprising twist that reveals an unsuspected trait from one or both characters. The short story “Two Thanksgiving Gentlemen” shows us the importance of traditions. It takes place in America on a Thanksgiving Day. The main characters of the story are Stuffy Pete, a homeless man, and the Old Gentlemen, a rich philanthropist. Stuffy Pete is a homeless man. Every Thanksgiving for the last nine years, he has been summoned from his bench in New York City’s Union Square by an old gentleman who takes him to a restaurant, orders up a sumptuous dinner, and sits idly by as Stuffy eats it.

    This year, however, as Stuffy is making his way to his park bench, “two old ladies of ancient family” stop him, invite him into their home, and serve him a meal even more sumptuous than his traditional fare. By the time he reaches his old familiar bench and the old gentleman shows up, he is already stuffed to the gills. But nevertheless Stuffy accepts his invitation and “fought bravely to maintain tradition”. As the result of this nourishing dinner Stuffy is brought at the hospital. An hour later the ambulance brought the Old Gentlemen.

    But his case is quite different – starvation, as “he hadn’t eaten a thing in three days”. The main tone of the story is ironical, sometimes even sarcastic (Stuffy Pete was a hero who fought bravely to maintain tradition). The language is expressive as there are many stylistic devices and expressive means: Antonomasia: The Old Gentleman Stuffy Simile: Stuffy Pete wheezed and shuddered like some woman’s over-fat pug when a street dog bristles up at him. Metaphor: Thanksgiving Day come and find Stuffy Pete on the bench, these words had been music in Stuffy’s ears.

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