A Retrieved Reformation O Henry

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In the story A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry, Jimmy Valentine is an infamous and highly skilled bank robber. When Jimmy moves to Elmore, he decides it is time to give up bank robbing and become a reinvented and better person. Jimmy Valentine is erased and Ralph Spencer, the well-respected, honest shoe shop owner is the man that is written over the old Jimmy. The story conveys that people can change, and being able to accept people when they change is very generous and is a sophisticated thing to do.
Jimmy made a living from robbing banks and people all over the country wanted to capture him. Whenever he was placed in jail, he would always get bailed out shortly afterwards. Ben Price, a detective who had been trying to catch Jimmy for years, tracked him down to Elmore. “‘Going to marry the banker’s …show more content…

One device used is an allusion. “Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine’s ashes.” O. Henry compares Jimmy to a phoenix- a great, powerful, positive thing that came from a dishonest crook that really didn’t deserve to be as successful as he was. Meeting Annabel caused Jimmy to want to make this transformation because he knew that an honest girl would never fall in love with a robber because she wouldn’t be able to trust him.
Another literary device used by O. Henry is irony. Ben Price let Jimmy go even after he saw Jimmy doing the thing that was the reason Ben was searching for him in the first place. Ben witnessed Jimmy breaking into a bank, something Ben never imagined he would witness. The difference was, Jimmy had changed his entire outlook on life and he had different values in life. He no longer valued money and possessions obtained illegally; he wouldn’t accept capital unless he had earned it. Ralph Spencer valued honesty and hard work. O. Henry’s surprise ending is a clever way used to develop the theme of the

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