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What is the tone or mood of "One Thousand Dollars," by O. Henry?

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reneembl | eNoter

Posted September 30, 2012 at 8:02 PM via web

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What is the tone or mood of "One Thousand Dollars," by O. Henry?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:13 PM (Answer #1)

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The tone and the mood of this short story are generally light and humorous.

Throughout this story, the narrator’s words and the dialogue both convey an atmosphere of light amusement.  The protagonist, “Young Gillian,” is presented very much as a sort of lightweight twit in the mold of Bertie Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse’s series.  Right from the start, he seems like a very frivolous person, making all sorts of jokes about the amount of money that has been left to him.  The lightness continues with the narrator’s words.  We are told that Old Bryson shows as much interest in Gillian as “a bee shows in a vinegar cruet.”  The rest of the story continues in a similar vein, even when the action becomes more serious toward the end.  Even as Gillian is being extremely noble, the narration and his words are light.  Therefore, the mood of this story is, overall, very light and amused.

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