A Study of the Linguistic Features of O. Henry’s Novels in High School English Teaching





O.Henry is one of the most famous writers in the United States. Most of his works are based on critical reality and reflect on the social problems of the authors era. These novels profoundly reveal the gap between the rich and the poor in society, the cruelty of the capitalist system, and the fragility of morality and humanity. They reflect the authors irony and criticism of the capitalist society at the time, and cruelly reveal the unreasonable capitalist society and unfair social phenomenon. This thesis mainly analyzes the language features of his novels from the rhetoric of his works, the use of words to make sentences.

1. Unique language rhetoric

O.Henrys novels use a large number of literary rhetoric techniques, the most distinctive of which are the use of three rhetoric metaphors, exaggerations.

1.1 Metaphorical rhetoric

The characters in O. Henrys novels are mostly at the bottom of the society. He is particularly good at describing the joys, sorrows and sorrows of these little people with vivid and vivid metaphors, and making these characters truly full. In the novel, O. Henry uses a lot of metaphors to describe the characters appearances, movements and appearances, so that the people, things and things in his novels are covered with a witty coat, leaving a deep impression on the readers.

1.2 Exaggerated rhetoric

In O.Henrys novels, exaggerated rhetorical techniques are also used properly. For example, the author reproduces the funny image of the tramp in an exaggerated way. In “The Gift of Maggie”, Della is thin and flexible. She has a very beautiful long hair. When she washes her hair and hangs her hair outside the window, she goes down with the waterfall and is very beautiful. In “Busy Brokers”, the securities trading activities in the stock exchange are like storms, and the brokers are busy tapping. These brokers, like high-speed machines, are extremely nervous but powerful. Through exaggerated methods, the author outlines the image of the “mechanical person” in the stock exchange that is struggling for money. The use of exaggerated techniques is mainly to achieve the authors expression by exaggerating the words.

2. Unique wording

The language in O.Henrys novels is very strange. Therefore, he enjoys the “geek of novel language” in the literary world.

The use of long sentences and short sentences is a major feature of O.Henrys novel creation. The author uses different sentence patterns in different contexts to achieve different language expression effects. Long sentences usually refer to sentences with more than twenty words and containing complex sentence components, and long sentences are used to express complex and rich linguistic content. In O. Henrys novels, O. Henry often uses long sentences to show some of the inner and outer forms of the heros protagonist. In “The Gift of Maggie”, the author uses two parallel long sentences to describe Dellas hair and her husbands gold watch, and to carry their most precious things with the charming Queen of Ciba and the rich King Solomon. Comparison. The entire long sentence can make the tone aggravate. The use of subjunctive in the text also makes the sentence full of humor, the tone is relaxed and natural, and they can also show them the preciousness of these two things.

3. Conclusion

Through his unique language style, O.Henry not only enriches his works with vivid and humorous features, but also can describe the details in real life, making the artistic image portrayed vivid, with a very strong United States. Realism realistic style, with high artistic value. In this way, the reader feels a more special realistic style of realism, thus giving the work more charm. O.Henry adopts a humorous language form, which not only reflects the hard life of the lowest class figures in society, but also reflects the authors profound criticism of the cruel reality society in his time.


[1] He Zhaohua. From the Perspective of Language Analysis, “The Gift of Maggie” and the Writing Style of O.Henry [J]. Literary Circle: Language Research, 2011, (01).

[2] Chen Yanling. Analysis of the Artistic Techniques of

O.Henrys Novels[J]. Journal of Jilin Province College of Education, 2007(04).

[3] Li Guoning. The Artistic Charm of the End of O.Henrys Style [M]. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, 2003.



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