In "The Gift of the Magi" what does the author mean when referring to "the wrong answer"?  "Eight Dollars a week or a million a year- whats the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you...

In "The Gift of the Magi" what does the author mean when referring to "the wrong answer"?

 

"Eight Dollars a week or a million a year- whats the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer"

Looking to know what the wrong answer or possible right answer would be/

Asked on by cms22

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

O. Henry is using irony to make a point about the way in which Jim and Della looked at their situation.

Their income was in the range of eight dollars per week - an amount that most people would consider far below poverty level, an amount that most readers would assume would lead to a level of deep depression or frustration or sadness on the part of Jim and Della.

However, the basis of their situation was love, not money. Even if Jim made one million dollars a year and they lived in a fine home with all the luxuries that money would have made possible, they could not have been in more love than they were in the story.

The "wrong answer" that would have been given by "a mathematician or a wit" would have said that the larger income made for a happier existence. Jim and Della knew the "right answer" - that love was the most important thing.

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