What is the "hashed metaphor" in this quote from "The Gift of the Magi" below?"Oh,and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings.Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's...

What is the "hashed metaphor" in this quote from "The Gift of the Magi" below?

"Oh,and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings.Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present."

Asked on by jayantha

1 Answer | Add Yours

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

O. Henry wrote with a florid and rather self-conscious style. He has been remembered for perhaps a half-dozen of his short stories which contain sincere feeling and sharp observations in spite of the overloaded style of presentation. Another excellent O. Henry story is "The Furnished Room."

The "hashed metaphor" he refers to in "The Gift of the Magi" is precisely "Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings." By "hashed" he means trite, rehashed, stale, overused. It is obviously a metaphor and not a very good one because nothing can "trip" or "dance" on a pair of wings, rosy or otherwise.

O. Henry seems to be writiing hastily to meet a newspaper deadline. He may have been drinking as he wrote his tale. He was a heavy drinker. And, after all, it was Christmas. He is poking fun at his own writing, which is full of hyperbole, sentimentality, and circumlocutions. His writing seems old-fashioned to modern readers, although the mass audience who admired O. Henry in his day had different tastes. They liked melodrama and sentimentality, and O. Henry was writing for a mass audience.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,919 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question