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What is ironic about the ending of O'Henry's short story "One Thousand Dollars?"

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freetimed | Student, Grade 9

Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:57 AM via web

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What is ironic about the ending of O'Henry's short story "One Thousand Dollars?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that there is a little bit of irony in the end of this story.  Specifically, I think that the attitudes of Tolman and Sharp, the lawyers, toward Gillian are ironic.  This is because they completely misunderstand what is going on.

Toland and Sharp think that Gillian is just some playboy wastrel who has frittered away his inheritance just the way that his uncle feared that he would.  They think that he has not grown up and has not shown any sort of responsible attitude.

What is ironic is that he really has grown up.  He has acted in a completely unselfish way by giving up his inheritance so Miriam Hayden can have a good life.

So the lawyers have a completely mistaken impression of what has happened and that is somewhat ironic.

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