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The Literary Hall devoted to the creative activity of O. Henry.
2014-05-04, 1:10 PM
The Literary Hall devoted to the creative activity of O. Henry.

O. Henry—a master of surprise endings.

to teach the students how to use the information in speaking about a famous American writer to develop literary skills to widen the scope to teach the students to understand and respect other people’s culture

Teacher: Good afternoon, dear friends! The meeting of our club is dedicated to the outstanding short- story writer, O.Henry. I hope all of you will take an active part in it. And now let us tell some facts from his biography.

Student 1: O.Henry’s real name was William Sydney Porter. He was born in Greensboro, a little town in North Carolina, in 1862, during the Civil War. His father, Algernon Sydney Porter, was a physician. When William was three, his mother died, and he was raised by his parental grandmother and parental aunt. William was an avid reader, but at the age of fifteen he left school and then worked in a drug store and on a Texas ranch. He continued to Houston, where he had a number of jobs, including that of a bank clerk. After moving to Austin, Texas, in 1882, he married.

Student 2: In 1884 Porter started a humorous weekly ‘The Rolling Stone’. But hr began heavy drinking and the weekly failed. In 1897 he was convicted of embezzling money and was put in prison.

Student 3: While in prison O. Henry started to write short stories to earn money to support his daughter Margaret as his wife died. His stories gained a success among readers. Porter emerged from prison in 1901 and changed his name to O. Henry.

Student 4: Despite his popularity, O. Henry’s final years were marred by ill-health, a desperate financial struggle and alcoholism. A second marriage in 1907 was unhappy. He died of stroke in 1910 when he was forty- seven. He had already achieved world-wide fame.

Teacher: Why did he take the nick-name ‘O.Henry’?
Student 1: According to some sources he acquired the pseudonym from a warder called Orrin Henry.
Student 2: As far as I remember, it also could be an abbreviation of the name of a French pharmacist, Eteinne-Ossian Henry, found in the U.S.

Teacher: Now let us speak about his creative activity. He contributed much to the American short story and was the most popular of the American short story writers before World War I. He was the author of about 300 short stories. The best of them were published in the books. The task is the following: make the list of his books and match them with the years they were published.

1904 1906 1907 1908 1909


“Cabbage and Kings”
“The Four Million”
“Heart of the West”
“The Trimmed Lamp”
“The Voice of the City”
“Strictly Business”
“The Gentle Grafter”
“Roads of Destiny” and some others.

The Keys:
“Cabbage and Kings”-1904
“The Four Million”- 1906
“The Trimmed Lamp”-1907
“Heart of the West”- 1907
“The Voice of the City”- 1908
“The Gentle Grafter”- 1908
“Roads of Destiny”- 1909
“Options”- 1909
“ Strictly Business”- 1910

Teacher: I would like you to solve some puzzles about the books of O.Henry. Can you guess the titles of these stories?
1. In this book O. Henry deals with the judicial system. Judge Derwent receives a letter from an ex-convict, in which the writer, ‘Rattlesnake’ threatens his daughter and the district attorney, Littlefield. (“One Dollar’s Worth”.)

2. The story tells about two kidnappers, who make off with the young son of a prominent man. They find out that the child is a real nuisance. In the end they agree to pay the boy’s father to take him back. (“The Ransom of Red Chief”).

3. This story is about a young couple who love each other tenderly. Each has a favorite hobby. He likes drawing and she likes music. But soon they beg in to lack money to pay for their lessons. ( “A Service of love”).

4. It is a funny story about a burglar. The burglar expected no remarkable ‘haul’. His objective point was that dimly lighted room where the master of the house should be sleeping heavily… A ’touch’ might be made there to the extent of legitimate, fair professional profits- loose money, a watch, a jeweled stickpin-nothing exorbitant or beyond reason…(“Makes the Whole World Kin”).

5. This story is about two girls who were the artists. Their names were Sue and Johnsy. Johnsy got very ill and believed she would die when the last leaf fell down. Sue told their neighbor Behrman about it. He saved Johnsy by painting on the wall the last leaf on an icy night, but caught cold and died. (“The Last Leaf”).

Teacher: I am sure all of you have read the story “The Gift of the Magi”.
The story is based on O. Henry’s use of coincidence, but the tender spirit of mutual sacrifice which dominates in the story imparts a special glow. Prove that Jim and Della loved each other greatly.
Student 1: Certainly, they loved each other because they sold their only treasures which were Della’s beautiful hair and Jim’s gold watch to buy presents for Christmas.
Student 2: Only true love will conquer everything. These two young people made the most unselfish sacrifice,etc.

Teacher: Today we spoke much about O.Henry. What adjectives can be used while speaking about him in conclusion?

Students: one of the most widely published modern authors; an outstanding humorist; worked out and enriched all the various types of a short story; gave much thought to his titles; a born reporter of great talent; one purpose-to give the reader a shock of surprise at the end, etc.
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