Novel Reading Report
Your name 洪耕 Missy
Presentation time 2010.12.20
I. General information
Book Name: First Publishing time: Publishing country:
41 stories by O.Henry 1984 America
It is O.Henry’s short story collection. (P.S. It is my first original book and I think it is a little bit expensive.)It contains 41 famous and popular stories by O.Henry. I’m not very satisfied with this book, because the letters are tiny and crowed. But it is very light and easy to carry.
In terms of its content, it is really a big and rough deal for me. I realize that it is really hard for us freshmen to read these original articles, not to say to work out the deep meaning behind the words. There is a long journey for me to get the ability to appreciate the original masterwork. Anyway, I will
keep going. I think maybe I can finish it during my coming holiday.
Author name O.Henry (William Sydney Porter)
Author’s brief biography
O. Henry (1862-1910) - pseudonym of William Sydney Porter. He is a prolific
American short-story writer, a master of surprise endings, who wrote about the life of ordinary people in New York City. Typical for O. Henry's stories is a twist of plot which turns on an ironic or coincidental circumstance. Although some critics were not so enthusiastic about his
work, the public loved it.
Length of the book How much have you finished? How much do you think
(words and pages) About 10%. you understand it?
424 pages. How many hours do you May be 60%. I can
spend on reading it? figure out just the
About two weeks. literal meaning after
looking up all difficult
II. Main idea of the book (200 words)
I do appreciate The Last Leaf. It jolted me deeply. So I’d like to say
something about this one.
This story was about two female artists named Sue and Johnsy who lived in a dull, shabby and mazy lane. Many artists gathered there. “At the
top of a squatty, three-story brick” the two girls had their studio.
After six months, on a freezing and blowy November day, Johnsy got a heavy pneumonia which had killed some poor artists in this art district. She believed that she must die when the last leaf fell from the old, old ivy vine twenty feet away out of their window. They were both sad and hopeless.
Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was past sixty “who regarded himself as especial
mastiff-in-waiting to protect the two young artists in the studio above”. He
always wanted to work out a masterpiece, but the board for the masterpiece was always black. Sue felt helpless and desperate told him this grieved circumstance. Then days later, the last leaf still hanged in there no matter how strong the midnight wind was. So Johnsy firmly believed that she would be survived. And the strong hope to live indeed made her back to life.
The next day after Johnsy began recovering, Old Behrman died of pneumonia. Because he spent his life on his masterpiece---In the midnight he stuck the last leaf tightly on the wall near the ivy leaf which was never fluttered or moved when the wind blew.
III. Your comments of the book. (300 words)
I’m so happy that I have read this story. I feel richer and stronger in my mind. It is really worth to read. And also it is definitely worth the name of masterwork. The author used the least words to express the most wonderful and philosophical truth. It makes the reader think over and over.
It tells me that a soul is noble or mean, should never be judged by the fortune or social status and so on, but the faith deeply rooted in this person’s mind.
In the eyes of utilitarian, Old Behrman was regarded as a ridiculous loser. But in my opinion, he owned the most precious and noble soul as a human being, and the leaf on the wall which was never fluttered or moved when the wind blew was a symbol of his pure and humanitarian heart. He devoted his life to a young life that need firmly support. He gives Jonhsy, as well as all the people who are suffered so much and almost lose the faith to life, a life-saving straw. Because of his loving care and encouragement, we are as tough as the last leaf. He was featureless and insignificant,
represented our human beings, but he was also as grand and powerful as the Creator in spiritual.
Sometimes we do something marvelous and terrific, and this moment shows the true meaning of human beings and why we struggle to live. The rest of time is just meaningless copy about our daily life. I have read that our life are not continuous, they are actually some intermittent fragments. It means just some discontinuous memorable moments are jointed into our life. So Old Behrman’s last masterwork is the most important piece of his life, which is more precious than others’ whole lifetime. So because of the tiny
leaf, we can say, or we have to say, in some way he beats the destiny of a poor failure and finally makes it out.
IV. Criticism or questions to the author or the novel.
It’s really hard for me, so I just finish four stories of them. They are The Last Leaf, the Gift of the Magi, the Cop and the Anthem, and the Furnished room. It’s ironic because I must learn it as an intensive textbook so that I can understand it and get some valuable inspire. And I also found some Chinese version for help. To my surprise, some articles haven’t be
translate into Chinese for some reasons. What a pity if I can’t work these
out. So maybe learn English better means a wider and richer world.
I decide to choose a childish novel next time so I can enjoy the plot and improve my reading speed. Some time later, after I do some great improvement in my English level, I will try to read short stories again, because I think short stories need deeper understanding literally.
Anyway, O.Henry’s stories are definitely worth to read up on.