Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Babes in the Jungle" by O Henry

"Babes in the Jungle" by O Henry (1903, 7 pages)

O Henry (1862 to 1910 USA-aka William Porter) is famous for his surprise or twist ending short stories.    Just as Saki is a very English writer of Edwardian England, O Henry is a very American writer of the 1910s.   The Wikipedia article on O Henry gives a good account of his life and career.    He lived a very interesting life.     He was a popular writer who wrote his stories for sale to mass market magazines, not elite literary journals.  

One of the themes of O Henry's stories seem to be tricksters getting tricked.   The stories also seem to deal with issues of supposedly smart city dwellers versus country hicks or recent immigrants.    Imagine the setting of the recent cable TV series show Broadway Empire and you will get an idea of his settings.  

As "Babes in the Jungle" opens we have two hucksters or confidence men talking about how easy it is to take advantage of residents of New York City.    They go on and on about how they even feel bad about taking their money through sales of phony gold mines and such.   They have just recently met and they are each trying to impress the other.    Then the fun begins when they meet J. P. Morgan, hyper wealthy banker.

The twist ending here is really well done.   This is to me a fun and funny story.

You can read this story  in just a few minutes at East of the Web:Short Stories.      Of Saki and O Henry, I guess I like Saki a bit more.    They are both good writers who make us smile and maybe reflect on our lives a bit.  

Mel u


Short Story Slore said...

I enjoyed this story and the "surprise" ending. The only thing I don't like about reading O Henry stories is that you know there will be a twist at the end, so what could be a surprise rarely ever is. But I do like reading his pieces.

Anonymous said...

I love surprise endings. Will definitely save this and read for later. Thanks for posting about him. I never heard about O Henry before, though I have come across Saki's collected something or others :)

Mel u said...

Short Story Store-yes on an O Henry Story I start to wonder what the ending will be as soon as I start it-they are fun-not great art

myworldlyobsessions-give O Henry a try-will only take five minutes top-let us know how you like him please