O. Henry Questions and Answers

O. Henry book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Could you tell me why O. Henry called his story "Witches' Loaves"? Could you tell me why O. Henry called his story "Witches' Loaves"?

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Perhaps the German draftsman perceived those two particular loaves of bread as "witches' loaves" because they destroyed his plans, and he was, therefore, cursed by them.  In other words, they were like the brew of a witch in that they contained powers to destroy.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write5,917 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

The title of O. Henry's painful short story "Witches' Loves" has several meanings, each of which dramatizes a part of the story. The first is that at times, "Witches' ___" (fill in the blank) is used as an invective against someone one is really agnry with or toward something one is really angry about. The artist was certainly really angry about what those...those...those witches' loves did to his drafting plans...really angry.

The second and third meanings are closely linked. You recall that Miss Martha prepared a mysterious brew of quince and borax in the kitchen, and the narrator says that "Ever so many people use it for the complexion." Upon consulting Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews, Volumes 25-28, you find that various quince borax recipies for bars--or loves--of creams or soaps are used for beauty treatments.

In a metaphorical sense, Miss Martha can be said to be brewing up witches' loves with witchly mysterious recipies for purposes of romantic witchery. In another metaphor, Miss Martha's beauty treatment loaves and her doctored--or bewitched--loves of bread are intended as magic potions to capture the affections of the lonely artist who subsists on stale bread--or so she thinks.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,203 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

I don't know if we know for sure why O. Henry called this story Witches Loaves. What we do...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 561 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial


krameri | Student

thank you very much for your answers.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
krameri | Student

can somebody help me with this question? it's urgent!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
krameri | Student

Thank you for your answer. In some way that  is logical, what you wrote. But if you pay attention to the title "witch" is written in plural.  So, not only Miss Martha was a witch. May be that German  was a witch too. Because at the end, he turned out to be a draftsman and not a poor painter.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial