The Romance of a Busy Broker
1.1 Background of Choosing the Topic
O. Henry was a famous author of the New York. O. Henry was originally born William Sydney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a young man, he moved to Austin, Texas where he worked as a bank teller. He moved again to Houston, Texas in 1895 and became a newspaper columnist. From his experiences, O. Henry created the main character in The Romance of a Busy Broker as if like himself.
The Romance of a Busy Broker was one of his 250 stories which was written after his release from prison in 1991. This story had surprise or ‘twist’ in the ending. In this kind of story, there were surprise character who were very unique. Therefore, the writer conducts analysis on O. Henry’s The Romance of a Busy Broker in revealing the New York society condition through its main character.
1.2 Objective of the study
The primary objective of this analysis is the main in O. Henry’s The Romance of a Busy Broker. The objectives of this study are to explore the main character in this story and dig out the more information about the society condition through the main character.
1.3 Statement of Problem
Based on the previous background of the choosing the topic, the statement of problem can be formulated as follows how does the main character reveal the society condition of New York City at that time?
1.4 Scope of the Study
This paper is devoted to the main character in revealing the society condition of New York which was showed by O. Henry. This paper will analyze the society condition of New York from the main character and socio-historical background which were existed in O. Henry’s The Romance of a Busy Broker.
1.5 Theoretical Approach
The study is attempting to explicate the main character in revealing the society condition of New York people throughout The Romance of a Busy Broker. The writer uses Genetic Structuralism research to analyzes the literary work from intrinsic and extrinsic aspect. The research is started by intrinsic aspect (unity and coherence) as the basic data. Then, research will associate many aspects with its society condition. Literary work is a reflection which can reveal social, culture, politic, economic aspect, etc. This important events from their era can will be directly associated with intrinsic aspects of literary work.
The interconnection of literary work and the social reality created the sociological approach for literature. This idea was supported by Abram’s assumption which said that literary work is the mirror of social reality (1979; 31). Sociological theory is a combination of observations and insights that offer a systematic explanation of life, because literary work tries to be the media in showing the changing of society.
2.1 Socio- Cultural of America
The Progressive Era lasted from 1895 until World War I. This was a period of unrest and reform. Monopolies continued in spite of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Social problems flourished in the U.S. During the 1910s labor unions continued to grow as the middle classes became more and more unhappy. Unsafe working conditions were underscored by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 145 female workers were killed. Children were hired to work in factories, miles, and mines for long hours in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Though efforts to pass a federal law proved unsuccessful, by the middle of this decade every state had passed a minimum age law. A commission found that up to 20% of the children living in cities were undernourished, education took second place to hunger and while children worked, only one-third enrolled in elementary school and less than 10% graduated from high school. The status of the Negro worsened. Skilled Negro workers were barred from the AF of L. Women were also striving for equality. The first suffrage parade was held in 1910 - the 19th amendment finally ratified in 1919.
American became the most highly industrialized country during this time. Mass production of cars created a nationwide prosperity and resulted in one of the most profound social changes in America's history. Popular culture became a lucrative national product for the United States. All over the world people were dancing our dance crazes, listening to our jazz tunes, wearing our fashions, falling for our pop fads, and buying our products. Tobacco was a big business, with immigrants to New York City accounting for 25% of the tobacco purchasing.
2.1 The Main Character
The Romance of a Busy Broker mostly told about how busy the main character that is Harvey Maxwell, a Manhattan broker, with his work until became forgetful.
Pitcher, confidential clerk in the office of Harvey Maxwell, broker, allowed a look of mild interest and surprise to visit his usually expressionless countenance when his employer briskly entered at half past nine in company with his young lady stenographer. With a snappy "Good-morning, Pitcher," Maxwell dashed at his desk as though he were intending to leap over it, and then plunged into the great heap of letters and telegrams waiting there for him.
In this opening paragraph, O’ Henry told the reader that how busy Harvey Maxwell. When Harvey gave greeting to Pitcher, his clerk, he was in a hurry. It was proven when he run into his desk and did his daily work. These kinds of activities were also done by average people living in New York City.
The machine sitting at that desk was no longer a man; it was a busy New York broker, moved by buzzing wheels and uncoiling springs.
"Well--what is it? Anything?" asked Maxwell sharply. His opened mail lay like a bank of stage snow on his crowded desk. His keen grey eye, impersonal and brusque, flashed upon her half impatiently.
Once again the author showed the reader that this kind of business life happened in New York at that time. In this story, Harvey was in a stressful condition. His desk was crowded. Harvey also became impersonal and brusque. He could become impatient when he had to talk with other people.
He who has been denied the spectacle of a busy Manhattan broker during a rush of business is handicapped for the profession of anthropology. The poet sings of the "crowded hour of glorious life." The broker's hour is not only crowded, but the minutes and seconds are hanging to all the straps and packing both front and rear platforms.
O. Henry tried to hyperbole a rush of business in New York. In this case, Harvey could not denied the crowded of Manhattan broker. Every second, every minute, every hour, and every day, Harvey was lack of time. He was full of ambition to finish the demand of his work.
And this day was Harvey Maxwell's busy day. The ticker began to reel out jerkily its fitful coils of tape, the desk telephone had a chronic attack of buzzing. Men began to throng into the office and call at him over the railing, jovially, sharply, viciously, excitedly. Messenger boys ran in and out with messages and telegrams. The clerks in the office jumped about like sailors during a storm. Even Pitcher's face relaxed into something resembling animation.
On the Exchange there were hurricanes and landslides and snowstorms and glaciers and volcanoes, and those elemental disturbances were reproduced in miniature in the broker's offices. Maxwell shoved his chair against the wall and transacted business after the manner of a toe dancer. He jumped from ticker to 'phone, from desk to door with the trained agility of a harlequin.
This part of paragraph showed the reader how busy Harvey Maxwell. He had to jump from ticker to phone, from desk to door, etc. He had to face much business that he did such as receiving many messages, telegrams, and phone. O. Henry could elaborate well the setting which supported that the main character was very busy.
"Lady from the Stenographer's Agency to see about the position," said Pitcher.
Maxwell turned half around, with his hands full of papers and ticker tape.
The hand full of papers and ticker tape showed the reader that Harvey couldn’t be free from such kind of job. Although there was someone wanted to talk with him, the thick paper was still on his hand.
"You are losing your mind, Pitcher," said Maxwell. "Why should I have given you any such instructions? Miss Leslie has given perfect satisfaction during the year she has been here. The place is hers as long as she chooses to retain it. There's no place open here, madam. Countermand that order with the agency, Pitcher, and don't bring any more of 'em in here."
The silver heart left the office, swinging and banging itself independently against the office furniture as it indignantly departed. Pitcher seized a moment to remark to the bookkeeper that the "old man" seemed to get more absent-minded and forgetful every day of the world.
These paragraphs showed the reader that Harvey became forgetful day after day. Besides, Harvey became easy to be angry when there was a problem with his clerk. Actually at that time the clerk misunderstood about Harvey’s instruction. The clerk thought that his boss was disappointed with the stenographer and wanted to get the new one. Therefore, the clerk brought a new stenographer. Unfortunately, his boss was angry at him because at the fact Harvey was really satisfied with Miss Leslie, his stenographer who had worked at his office for one year. This kind of angriness usually happened in a big town like New York which had a rush hour.
The rush and pace of business grew fiercer and faster. On the floor they were pounding half a dozen stocks in which Maxwell's customers were heavy investors. Orders to buy and sell were coming and going as swift as the flight of swallows. Some of his own holdings were imperilled, and the man was working like some high-geared, delicate, strong machine--strung to full tension, going at full speed, accurate, never hesitating, with the proper word and decision and act ready and prompt as clockwork. Stocks and bonds, loans and mortgages, margins and securities--here was a world of finance, and there was no room in it for the human world or the world of nature.
In this part, the author showed the reader that a man worked like a strong machine. He never thought about how much time and energy that he sacrificed for his work. People seemed never got recreation or some refreshment in their life.
He dashed into the inner office with the haste of a short trying to cover. He charged upon the desk of the stenographer.
She looked up at him with a smile. A soft pink crept over her cheek, and her eyes were kind and frank. Maxwell leaned one elbow on her desk. He still clutched fluttering papers with both hands and the pen was above his ear.
"Miss Leslie," he began hurriedly, "I have but a moment to spare. I want to say something in that moment. Will you he my wife? I haven't had time to make love to you in the ordinary way, but I really do love you. Talk quick, please--those fellows are clubbing the stuffing out of Union Pacific."
In this paragraph, Harvey could ignore his crowded for a while when he attracted with a beautiful woman. She is Miss Leslie. However, Harvey still forced Miss Leslie to answer his proposal quickly because he had so much works.
"Don't you understand?" said Maxwell, restively. "I want you to marry me. I love you, Miss Leslie. I wanted to tell you, and I snatched a minute when things had slackened up a bit. They're calling me for the 'phone now. Tell 'em to wait a minute, Pitcher. Won't you, Miss Leslie?"
Here, Harvey had to express his feeling straightly because there were many calls waiting for him. The romanticism aspect were less in this moment. However, Harvey could do unusual thing. That was postponing all the calls. This kind of attitude was also usually done by busy people when they had to do the same thing. That was expressing their love feeling to their beloved people.
From the analysis conducted, it can be concluded that O. Henry had been successful to show the busy life of New York people. Throughout the story "A Romance of a Busy Broker," O Henry used characterization to explain and exaggerate the characters in the story.This story was well done to describe how busy the worker at that time until they became forgetful from the special moment that they had ever done.
(Summary of the literary Work)
In the story "A Romance of a Busy Broker", Harvey Maxwell an old, very busy Manhattan broker becomes overwhelmed with work and becomes very forgetful. His assistant Mr. Pitcher misunderstands him and call for a replacement stenographer to replace Miss. Leslie. Until Mr. Maxwell finds out and gets upset, telling Mr. Pitcher that Miss. Leslie will hold the job of stenographer until she can’t anymore. When lunch hour for the office comes around Mr. Maxwell relies that he is in love with Miss. Leslie. He asks her to marry him, only to find out that they got married the previous night at a small church around the corner from the office
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