Springtime à la Carte by O. Henry
In Springtime à la Carte by O. Henry we have the theme of love, worry, dedication, loneliness, connection and sacrifice. Taken from his Selected Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Sarah is very much in love with Walter. However she is despondent over the fact that he has not arrived in New York though they plan to get married. There is also a sense that Sarah has put all her eggs in the one basket when it comes to her plans to marry Walter. He means everything to her and it would be understandable for the reader to have some compassion for Sarah considering that she has not received letters from Walter nor has he arrived in New York. How dedicated Sarah is to Walter is noticeable by the volume of letters that she writes to him. If anything the reader is left suspecting that Sarah is very much in love with Walter. Even though they do come from different slices of life. This could be important as Henry may be suggesting that love, if it is real, will overcome any obstacle that is placed in front of it.
Sarah like Walter is also hard-working. Something that becomes clearer to the reader when she spends her day typing out the menus for Schulenberg. She also lives in an environment that does not have much greenery. Something which is the total opposite when it comes to Walter’s environment (farm). Symbolically this could be important as Henry may be using both Sarah and Walter’s environment to suggest that though they are opposites they are still nonetheless attracted to one another. It may also be a case that Sarah is lonely. This might explain as to why she began typing a letter to Walter while typing up one of the menus for Schulenberg. However this simple error is the trigger which reconnects both Sarah and Walter with one another. Though as readers we are unaware of how long it has been since Sarah last saw Walter. Her delight in seeing him suggests that she has missed him very much. If anything Sarah has given her heart to Walter and he too appears to have given his to Sarah. Which may be the point that Henry is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that with young love comes excitement. The excitement to see the person you love. If anything Sarah feels excited and relieved to see Walter.
For Sarah she was relying on letters. Letters that did not come as Walter was not receiving them. Something which could be detrimental to two people in love. Any loss of contact can result in an individual’s mind thinking that the relationship they hold so close to their heart is over. Thankfully just as spring is about to go into bloom so too the reader suspects will Sarah and Walter’s love for one another. Despite Walter having had to change his life and adapt to a new world in New York. He knows that the sacrifice will be worth it. It is as though the reader is left with the impression that Walter would do anything for Sarah and likewise Sarah the reader feels would do anything for Walter. So deep is the connection that both have with one another. Where some would have given up on finding Sarah again. Walter doesn’t and through a stroke of good fortune he finds Sarah. Which may be the point that Henry is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that in life one always has the possibility of finding the unexpected.
That life may not necessarily always be black and white. There can be shades of grey and within these shades of grey people can find happiness and love. Just as Sarah and Walter have. If it was not for Sarah’s mistake than Walter may have never found Sarah again. With a little bit of good fortune everybody has the chance of happiness. What started out as a job to Sarah has resulted in the man she loves coming back into her life when she was at a particularly low point. Though Sarah had begun to mourn the loss of Walter good fortune favoured her and her tears faded. The reader left in no doubt that Sarah and Walter though still young have a bond that others might find hard to break. They are two young people in love who have the world at their feet. The only obstacle that came between them was the fact that they lived so far apart but this no longer is a barrier to either Sarah or Walter. The pain of separation is no longer. Both Sarah and Walter have all the time in the world to enjoy each other’s company now that Walter has found Sarah again. There is nothing to stop them.