Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Pedulum By O. Henry, reviewed by Kanishka Chauhan

The Pedulum By O. Henry

Reviewed by
Kanishka Chauhan
School: Gyan Mandir Public School

1. About the Author

William Sydney Porter (1862-1910) more popularly known by his pen name O. Henry was one of the most celebrated masters of the short story in the 19th Century America. He had a chequered career as a book keeper, a draftsman in the land office and a teller in the Bank of Austin. He also tried his hand a cartooning, writing and editing before he made a mark as a writer. O. Henry’s stories have a deep human interest. He spins brief and strikingly dramatic tales involving his characters in such a manner that the element of surprise and a twist ending startle the reader.

2. Main Characters

3. Book Review

“The Pendulum” is the story of a married man who is terribly bored with the monotony of life. In his dull and unexciting life, it is the same routine everyday same office, same job, same public places and life, same friends, same events, movements, words and even food. Trapped in this circle of life, he lives on a repetitive life until one evening, when he retuned home his wife was missing. She leaves behind a note that she is going away to see her ailing mother. Used to be greeted by his wife in her name, predictable manner, Perkins is shocked by the emptiness of his apartment in the absence of his wife. This emptiness, heightened by disorderly things, scattered clothes and leftover packets of only reflect the emptiness of his wife infact all life around him. Unable to bear a break in his usual routine, and a life without Katy, the bored and lonely Perkins realizes his folly of neglecting his wife. Eating his cold dinner, he becomes painfully aware how Katy toils hard to keep his life in order and he has not acknowledged this. Full of remorse about leaving Katy home to go to play pool with his friends each day, he decides to be more caring. He decides to make amends by doing what he had never done. He resolves to cut down his outings with friends and his visits to McCloskey’s for a game of pool. He promised to take his wife out for amusement, to look after her, to love her and to pleas her as any husband ought to do for his soul mate. He would make up for all his neglect, he thinks. What was life without her, he wonders.

Even as he lost in these thoughts there comes Katy as suddenly as she had disappeared, her stupidly and soon all his resolves melt into nothingness and he finds himself a solace of habit again. He reaches for his hat and slips out of the door giving his usual mechanical reply to Katy a question asked in a complaining voice, “Now, where are you going, I’d like to know, John Perkins”, “Thoughtful I’d drop into McCloskey’s and play a game or two of pool with the fellows”, say she.

My Opinion:

On one hand, the story shows that the thoughtless and inconsiderate people soon lose interest in their spouses and their mean and selfish approach robs their marriages of all romance. On the other hand the implied massage of the story is that weak minded people fail to reform themselves even when they realize their faults and are filled with remorse. Such people from one extreme to another and cannot stick to their solution. So I recommend others also to read this book and enjoy it.