Can you provide a review of "Proof of the Pudding" by O. Henry?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In "Proof of the Pudding" by O. Henry, two men who were once close friends have now become estranged (separated) by a difference in lifestyles.

Editor Westbrook has just received honors for having a successful magazine. He is walking through the park and runs into his old friend, Dawe. Dawe looks like a beggar. He has not been published lately, and he has very little money. In fact, he is behind on his rent.

Westbrook and Dawe used to live near each other in a nice neighborhood. After Dawe stopped getting anything he had written published, he fell into a beggar state and had to move away from Westbrook and the nice neighborhood.

On this day when Westbrook just so happened to run into Dawe, Dawe asked Westbrook why he wouldn't publish his written fiction. Westbrook said the resolution was not rich enough.

Dawe stated that people reacted in ordinary, everyday-type expressions or mannerisms in the face of tragedy or at the end of the story. Westbrook disagreed, believing people reacted more eloquently in the face of tragedy. Dawe challenged Westbrook and received a classic ending. Dawe's plan was to leave his wife a note stating that he had run away with another woman. Dawe and Westbrook would hide behind closed doors and wait for Dawe's wife's reaction in the face of tragedy. This is a way Dawe could prove his point. He expected his wife to react in an ordinary manner or ordinary way of expressing her sorrow.

Ironically, when Dawe and Westbrook arrived to write the note, there was a note for Dawe from his wife. Dawe's wife had run away to join the Opera with Editor Westbrook's wife. Dawe began to react in an eloquent manner expressing his brokeness at the thought of his wife being gone forever:


_"My God, why hast thou given me this cup to drink? Since she is false,
then let Thy Heaven's fairest gifts, faith and love, become the jesting
by-words of traitors and fiends!"_

Westbrook began to express his grief in an less eloquent manner:


_"Say, Shack, ain't that a hell of a note? Wouldn't that knock you off

your perch, Shack? Ain't it hell, now, Shack--ain't it?"_

In the end, both men were wrong. Each reacted in an opposite manner than each had earlier expressed as the proper way to react in the face of tragedy or at the end of a story.

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