Short Story #231: The Duel by O'Henry

Title: The Duel 

Author: O'Henry


O Henry - Humorist.  Image source:
The story begins by talking about the magnificence and power of the city of New York.  The reader is then introduced to William and Jack who came to the city to make their fortunes.  William came for business and Jack for art.  They were typical boys from middle America.  After several years, the two met Jack claims that the city had won its duel against William because he is just like so many other New Yorkers.  William argues that he has adapted and become successful.  Jack position appears no better as he hates the city and finds it utterly lacking.  He longs for the peace of the Mid-West and elsewhere.  Later that night, he receives a message from his hometown and it's his girlfriend who beckons him back "and the answer will be yes."  He replies that he is simply too busy to leave.  The author then asks the reader to decide who is the winner in the duel.


This was a fun story reflecting on the ways people live and raising the question about what it means to live in a place such as New York.  It's fascinating that despite it being over 100 years later, the story's essence with regard to New York still holds a certain amount of truth.

Short Story #231 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/20/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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