The Pursuit Of Happiness In O. Henry's A Municipal Report

854 words - 3 pages

Good Vs. Evil –This universal truth, particularly predominant in epic literature, frequently finds a place in the works of many proficient writers. In ‘A Municipal Report’, the author O. Henry makes ample and efficient use of plot elements like foreshadowing, symbolism and characterization to give the reader an insight into the life of Azalea Adair, a middle- aged poor writer who is constantly abused- physically, mentally as well as financially – by her cruel husband, Major Caswell.The short story, published in 1909, is narrated in the first person(limited omniscience) point of view by a visitor in the city of Nashville, Tennessee who observes the drama unfold in front of him, and eventually finds himself to be an accomplice in the murder of Major Caswell.
This short story differs from the other works of O. Henry because of the intricacy of the plot and the sense of ambiguity that it creates. O. Henry makes use of a complex plot structure and plenty of foreshadowing to create suspense and arouse curiosity in the mind of the reader. The plot is set in Nashville, Tennesse which is reflected in the short descriptions about the city that frequently hamper the flow of the story. It is evident by the modes of transportation used, the description of the city and buildings, the behaviour and attitude of the characters and the mention of the discrimination and domestic violence that the short story is set in the early 1900s.The author is extremely successful in describing the views of class, culture and education as they were in the twentieth century.
Other peculiar characteristic about the story is the element of humanity which is reflected in the story. The author introduces his story by making a comparison between the famous cities of New York, New Orleans and San Francisco and the so-called dull and static cities like Nashville. However throughout the story, he indirectly states that although some cities seem to be different from each other and life in some cities seems to be interesting than life in others, human nature is the same everywhere.
The author also gives a certain depth to his work by frequently mentioning the torn dollar bill which keeps on circulating among the characters, as a result of which the narrator successfully comprehends their relations .The torn dollar note is a symbol used for all the characters in the story. Just as the people seem unrelated and distinct from each other in the beginning but their lives turn out to be woven into each other’s...

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