How does the short story deal with the idea of perspectives ?Does it examines an individual or group perspective ? Is the short story shaped by prevailing cultural contexts, values, beliefs and...

How does the short story deal with the idea of perspectives ?

Does it examines an individual or group perspective ? Is the short story shaped by prevailing cultural contexts, values, beliefs and attitudes ?

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pearlepratt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

“The Bet” is a short story that presents opposing views on the issue of capital punishment. Therefore, perspective, or individual point of view, is germane to the story. The banker, who recalls his wager with a young lawyer fifteen years earlier, resolutely asserted his belief that the death penalty was a more humane form of punishment than life imprisonment. He felt that the swift justice imposed by the death penalty was both certain and merciful. Moreover, he objected to the prolonged suffering imposed by life imprisonment and felt it to be heartless and severe punishment.

As the banker articulated his perspective, a young lawyer offered an opposing view. He remarked that life, regardless of the quality, was to be valued more than death. (“To live anyhow is better than not at all.") These opposing perspectives form the basis of the wager, or bet. The banker bet millions that the lawyer could not remain in solitary confinement for fifteen years. When he made the bet, the banker was confident that he had both a better perspective of the issue and that he would win the bet.