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Short Stories - Book Report/Review Example

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The above cited short stories take up seven (7) pages, except The Love-Philter which has five (5) and the Mammon, 10.
In The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein the twist is when the powder that was supposed to be administered to a lady was mixed intentionally with an old man's (lady's guardian) coffee. The maker of the powder (Ikey), who harbors romantic feelings for the lady, gave it to a man, who has plans of running away with the lady, thinking that the "foolish" plan will soon be found out in time if he (Ikey) will reveal the plan to the old man.
In the Mammon and the Archer O. Henry successfully "refuted" the romantic clich 'money can not buy love' (although in the story itself the clich takes another form: "money is dross compared with true love"). The father in the story paid drivers to block the car where his son and a lady is in, and consequently, to give a substantial amount of time to his son to win the heart of the lady.
In The Count and the Wedding Guest, a character (Miss Conway) paraphrased the poem "Solitude" by American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox when she says "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and they give you the laugh."
In Springti
In Springtime la Carte, O. Henry alluded to James Henry Hackett, William Shakespeare, and to the works of Charles Reade. Philomela and satyrs, both mythological characters, were referred to in The Caliph, Cupid, and the Clock.

Despite the numerous superficial depictions of events and characters, the existence of a "happy dilemma," if there is one, lends power to O. Henry's works: Chunk McGowan needed to decide whether to administer the powder, that Ikey made, to his lady or not; Miss Rosalie Ray whose "heart and soul were sick of men" especially those who frequent the theater, have to decide what to do with her relationship with a man whom she found to be keeping a piece of her yellow silk garters as a memento. O. Henry also saw the need to maintain a closer-to-reality approach in dealing with his characters. Unlike the characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the protagonists in O. Henry's world pout no polished sentences. Abrupt, concise, and direct: that is how the utterances in his works are characterized. To be more emphatic about it, his characters are no different from the mental creatures by William Golding in his Lord of the Flies.

Themes and Setting
Admiration is due to those who have the audacity to compartmentalize the short stories of O. Henry into 'love,' 'humor,' or 'crime' categories. Although The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein seems to be a give-away as topping the list of "love" category, putting it only on such category would be, to say the least, too simplistic. If such is the case, a reader would be engaged in what is deemed to be a snobbish "let-us-look-for-keywords" guessing game.

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein is a love story only because a character wants to run away with a lady, in the same manner as The Memento is a love story because the main character was eventually 'engaged' with another character (a Reverend). Despite (or 'Because of') the pervading love theme, 'crimes' were committed in the created world of short stories: making someone unconscious in order to run away with his ward ...Show more
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Summary

The description "something startling will surely to happen at the end of the story" is inherent in the works of William Sydney Porter-O. Henry in the literary world. Numerous short stories, some of which could be found in Victoria Blake's compilation, attest to this fact: The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein, The Memento, Mammon and the Archer, Springtime la Carte, The Count and the Wedding Guest, and The Caliph, Cupid, and the Clock…
Short Stories
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