"The Cop and the Anthem" may be the third most widely read O. Henry story in grammar, middle, and high school. "The Ransom of Red Chief" rates number one, "The Gift of the Magi" number two, and "A Retrieved Reformation" number four. Young readers enjoy this story a lot because of the hilarious plot of Soapy, the only named character, trying to get arrested so he can spend the winter in jail. Adults tend to like the ironic approach of Soapy’s potential victims who skirt around being entrapped by him in a problem.
O. Henry stories are not read or heard widely after one leaves high school, which is a shame because they are such magical stories about expectations being crushed by realities, and the turn of events, which O. Henry was so masterful at achieving. However, and O. Henry is full of howevers, adults tend to love the stories once reintroduced to them. The humor is spectacular and quite light hearted. A final thought for the listener: Is there anyone similar to O. Henry in style? We can’t think of anyone, and that is another reason to listen to these stories. As with all Simply short stories, you should enjoy the ideas put forth in the introduction and afterword - things to think about or write about if a student. A brief biography appears in every O. Henry audiobook.
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