Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Camilla Collins, Jay Anderson, Lynwood Montell

Degree Program

Department of Modern Languages

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Stereotyping is a folkloristic process which permits people to reduce the complexities of the real world into simplified, abstract terms. O. Henry one of America’s most popular short story writers, made generous use of stereotypes in his stories. By examining O. Henry’s use of stereotypes, insight may be gained into the essential role which folklore often plays in creative literature. Stereotypes greatly influence the composition, function and reception of O. Henry’s work. O. Henry’s personal habits and circumstances demanded that he produce a prolific stream of short stories which would have the greatest popular appeal. Clever manipulation of stereotypes permitted O. Henry to swiftly write stories which gratified the reading public’s needs and expectations. New York City is the most popular location for O. Henry’s stories, and major categories of stereotypes which define New York City include business-mindedness, conviviality, notoriety and cosmopolitanism. Occupational, social and ethnic group stereotypes add a further dimension to O. Henry’s New York City stories.


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Folklore | Literature in English, North America | Social and Behavioral Sciences