When you spend time in jail, you get a new view on life. Since O' Henry spent some time in jail for embezzling, his stories all seem to have a lawless element. Running from the law seems to be a big part of his short stories, and even more than his famous surprise endings, the obvious similarities between the stories, especially the lawlessness element, obscures the plots as just details. When you consider that 2 of the plots are about these grafting schemes, and the third one implies it as much, the themes are different, and they each are individual, but this is one way to convey three messages.
I will be writing about three short stories, all by O' Henry. "Masters Of Arts," "The Man Higher Up," and the one that we all know, "After Twenty Years." The plots are similar; they all have to do with white collar crime, "Grafting".
In "Masters of Arts," a clever machinator, Jimmy Keogh, decides that a president of a South American nation has a very weak detriment to his personality; his pride, and decides to exploit it. He finds a budding young artist from New York, Carolus White, lies about his fame in the US, and finally secures 10,000 dollars for Carolus to do a obscenely tasteless portrait of this president. Carolus cannot do it, he has artistic standards, and therefore loses the money. To create a contrast to this, the machinator takes a incriminating photo of the president, and proceeds to blackmail the president. However, at the moment of receiving the money, Keogh rips up the photo and does not request nor recive the money. He cannot blackmail, he has "standards".
Juxtaposing this is the story "The Man Higher Up". The entire story takes place in New...