Can someone help me compare and contrast "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "The Gift of Magi"? Compare and contrast the effectiveness of these endings. Explain which story is more believable and cite examples to reinforce the claim. I've read both stories but I'm stuck on this question.

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I think both stories have equally effective endings. Each story ends with a strong sense of closure, and both stories have believable endings. Of course the endings are completely different between the two stories. "The Gift of the Magi" leaves readers feeling happy with "warm fuzzies" inside. The two protagonists love each other deeply and are very sweet to each other. "Lamb to the Slaughter" has an ending that readers almost have to laugh about and say, "No way that just happened." We feel that justice has been served, but readers are also likely horrified that they were rooting for Mary to get away with murder. As for which story is more believable, that is up to individual readers. Personally, I feel that "The Gift of the Magi" is more believable and contains a more believable ending. My main reason for that is anecdotal. I've been in a married Christmas situation where money was tight. Using textual evidence, I still feel that "The Gift of the Magi" is more believable. The problem with "Lamb to the Slaughter" is the number of variables and people. The story doesn't have lots and lots of characters, but Mary needs a lot to happen that is beyond her control. Most importantly, she needs officers to show up that know her and are hungry enough to eat the murder weapon. She has to convince law enforcement of a lie. Jim and Della are coming to each other from a place of truth. They love each other, and they don't have to convince anybody else of that fact.

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In comparing the two short stories "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl and "The Gift of The Magi" by O Henry, you could look at the different ways in which the characters changed at the end. One changed through fear, and some changed through experience. Also look at revelation - what is uncovered in each short story? What are the reactions of the characters towards each other as the story unfolds to its close? In whbich story did characters learn something positive? In which were they left in the dark? In "Lamb to the Slaughter" one character is in total control - what about in the other short story? Talk about sharing/partnership and lack of it too.

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Speaking only of the endings, I think that both of these stories are effective.  At least, both of the endings make me happy.  I think that both stories ended up in the ways that the characters deserved them to end.

As far as which is more believable, I think that "Gift" is more believable.  I think this is just because it relies on fewer things.  All that has to happen for it to come out right is that Jim has to act as a good husband would.

By contrast, for Mary to get away with what she did in "Lamb" takes a lot more luck.  She first has to kill Patrick with one blow.  She then has to keep her head enough to set up her alibi and to deal with the police.  Finally, the police have to not be too suspicious.

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