Friday, June 16, 2006

O Henry. Not your average, run-of-the-mill “Ugly American”.

Reading O Henry in the time of Bush and Powell is quite an eye opener. It dawns on you that empathy with the human condition is not anathema to all Americans. B&P are busy in the holy crusade of single-mindedly resurrecting that sixties' phantasm aptly called (if memory serves) "The Ugly American".

"She began to eat with a sort of dainty ferocity like some starved wild animal." Surely this - and The Gift of The Magi - could have been written only by someone who had observed hunger at close quarters and probably felt its pangs as well. O Henry, born William Sidney Porter, was imprisoned for embezzlement. He borrowed his pen name from Orrin Henry, an Ohio prison guard. Coincidence and chance loom large in his tales. Those two and, yes, the nagging suspicion that, all said and done, the control of events is not at all in human hands.,

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