The Writing Style of the Last Leaf

3443 Words May 26th, 2013 14 Pages
Content I. Introduction 1 II. Language Features. 2 A. The Accurate Choice of words 3 B. The Rhetoric Devices 3 C.The Variety of Sentences 4 III. Structure Features 5 A. O’ Henry’s ending 5 B. Plot Blank 7 VI. Conclusion 9 Bibliography 9
Acknowledgements 11

On O ’Henry’s Writing Style as Exemplified in The Last Leaf

I. Introduction

O’Henry is the father of modern American short stories, who ranks with Chekhov and Maupassant, was born on September 11, 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina. As the initiator of contemporary short novelists, O’Henry plays an extremely important role in the literary world, especially in America. He is good at portraying minor characters. The sense of
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We can see these features clearly in his masterpiece The Last Leaf.

A. The Accurate Choice of words

At the beginning paragraph of The Last Leaf, O’Henry uses accurate words to make the readers know the environment where the story is happening. O’Henry uses “colony”, just one word, to let the readers realize that people who live there are poor and unsuccessful in their career. This also forms a strong contrast with the end of the story: people live in that place can have masterpiece as well.

William Shakespeare has a wisdom, “Brevity is the soul of wit”, that is to use the least words to express a great amount of information, to use short and common but complex words, to leave out the redundant and vague words. In the sentence, “Then she swaggered into Johnsy’s room with her drawing board, whistling jazz.”, “swaggered” is more concise and to the point than “walk in a self-satisfactory”. And this behavior shows that Sue would not let Johnsy worry.

B. The Rhetorical Devices

To make the story more vivid and attractive, O’Henry uses a series of rhetorical devices.

In November a cold, unseen stranger whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy gingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, striking his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown ‘places’. (O’ Henry:

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