THE SKYLIGHT ROOM by O. Henry

O. Henry’s life in New York influences most of his short stories. In the “Skylight Room”, the setting where the story takes place is in New York.

It is the dream and favorite place of the author after experiencing life in jail for three years. And it’s the place where the author of many beautiful stories moved to pursue his dream on writing stories. The author make use all of this to write an inspiring story in the character of Miss Leeson that gives hope to those person experiencing different struggles in life, hope that someone or something will come to serves as our light. Hope that better days will come. 

2. Why was the story entitled “The Skylight Room”?

The skylight room was described as the tiniest and cheapest room reserved for those who can’t afford in getting an affordable and comfortable room. It has limited room supplies and located on the top floor. It has a small skylight who helps to have light in the dark room. The skylight room reflected the life of Miss Leeson wherein she uses the skylight as her hope to light up her dark life. She’s a poor woman who struggles in life, she doesn’t have a stable job that can sustain her. Every night after overcoming her exhausting and tiring day, she looks up the night sky through the skylight and stares the star which she named “Billy Jackson”, a star which she can see from her skylight room that serves as her only friend who knows her struggles in life. It is the only thing she can see in the dimness of the night.

3. How did the story end?

Due to starvation, Miss Leeson starts to become weak and dying. Her fellow lodgers became curious when they didn’t see Miss Leeson goes out from her room. They worried and tried to unlock her room and found out the woman lying on her bed almost a corpse. They call for help, and Dr. William Jackson came and rush to take Miss Leeson to the hospital. The story ends when the narrator gives relief and hope to everyone telling that they found a statement in a certain newspaper that a woman/patient found at 49 East Street will recover and mend from starvation.

4. How would you describe in detail the climax of the story?

The climax of the story is when Miss lesson seeks for a job but can’t find one since work opportunities is limited. Miss Leeson goes out every day from the skylight room to search an available and possible job that can offers her enough wages to sustain her basic needs. However, she goes back to her room without any coins to buy foods for herself. She struggles for being non-employed, she became weak for not eating because she can no longer afford her rent and to buy foods. She suffers from stress and starvation and her health breaks down. One day, Mr. Hoover one of the lodger in Mrs. Parker apartment ask her hand for marriage, but she reject it and remains true to herself even though this man could save and fed her. 

5. How would describe the character of Mrs. Parker? Support your answer with a line/s

from the story.

Mrs. Parker is the landlady of a boarding apartment where the skylight room is located, a smallest and cheaper room on the top floor which has a small skylight where Miss Leeson always barely stares Billy Jackson or star above the night sky. She has a sharp tongue and snob those who hunts for rent with lesser price. She also gives you blunt expression whenever you confess that you’re not a doctor nor a dentist because she loves this profession so much. On the beginning of the story, the narrator describes how Mrs. Parker show each room with their exact prices and how she gets irritated and became more judgmental if the person cannot afford to rent a costly room. It was supported with a line from the story, “Mrs. Parker’s manner of receiving the admission was such that you could never afterward entertain the same feeling toward your parents, who had neglected to train you up in one of the professions that fitted Mrs. Parker’s parlors.” One more thing, Mrs. Parkers attitude when they found out that Miss Leeson passed out on her bed is disapproving. She tried to wake her up and halfheartedly call the ambulance for help because she’s selfish because she just doesn’t want to have trouble in her boarding house, it was supported with a statements from the story, “Evidently the ambulance doctor was familiar with the location of skylight rooms. He was gone up the stairs, four at a time. Mrs. Parker followed slowly, as her dignity demanded.”

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