The Gift of the Magi Essay

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In the following excerpt, Blansfield explores O. Henry's role as a popular artist; she employs the auteur theory of criticism, which Blansfield describes as an approach that emphasizes an artist's "entire body of material to discover and analyze structural characteristics and stylistic motifs."

As a popular artist, [William Sydney] Porter shares company with a host of literary luminaries: Homer, [William] Shakespeare, [Mark] Twain, [Victor] Hugo, [Charles] Dickens, [Herman] Melville, and innumerable others. Like them, he stirred the mass imagination, drawing for material from the world about him, probing the foibles, dilemmas, comedies, and tragedies of human existence, speaking in a voice that could be understood by the multitudes.

This communal kinship lies at the heart of Porter's popularity, as it does for any popular artist. The public could identify with and respond to the people, places, and situations Porter wrote about. His stories offered the escape from...

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This section contains 2,452 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Gift of the Magi Study Guide
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