A couple wanted to buy each other gifts for Christmas Day, but both of them were broke. $1.87 broke. Della only had $1.87 to buy a gift for her companion.“Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and I had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim present. I had been saving every penny I could for months, with this result”(O. Henry, The Gift of the Magi). She wanted to make some more money, so she cut her hair and sold it. Doing so she bought her husband watch. Ironically enough, the man sold his watch and bought a comb for his wife. How is she going to comb her hair if she doesn’t have any? The Gift of the Magi takes place in New York around Christmas time in the 1900s. The message from this story is that you can show love and be unselfish even if you don’t have money. Jim and Della both showed the conflict within them because they had to make tough decisions on what to buy and what to sell. The conflict was that both had to let go of their belongings to satisfy each other. This love and affection for each other can last a lifetime. Paradoxical is the word that I would use to describe O. Henry’s stories and the way he writes. The Gift of the Magi is a perfect example of this kind of writing.
‘A Day’s Wait’ is a short story by Ernest Hemingway about a nine-year-old boy who is sick during a cold winter. The story takes place In France in a dark room of a house and is about the boy, and his father who calls him Schatz. When the boy gets the flu, a doctor is called in and recommends three different medicines. Schatz is quiet and sad, asking when he will die. The 102-degree temperature was lethal because he heard in France that no one lived with a temperature of over 44 degrees.’ I know they do. At school in France, the boys told me that you can’t live with forty-four degrees. I’ve got a hundred and two'(Hemingway, A Day’s Wait). The father told him that was wrong and said don’t cry. The story shows us indirectly how Schatz is sick and should be taking rest. Schatz is introverted about his illness and gives us reasons on how he reacts to being sick and thinking that he will die. The problem is that Schatz thinks that he is going to die. This is Internal Conflict because he is fighting through being sick and thinking his going to die. The main theme is inadequate communication. Compared to the “The Gift of the Magi”, they do not correlate in any way. “A Day’s Wait” is about a boy thinking that he is going to die, while “The Gift of the Magi” is about a couple trying to get each other gifts while they have no money. The setting for “A Day’s Wait” is in one place while “The Gift of the Magi” is all over New York City. This is why the two short stories don’t correlate.
In ‘The Ransom of Red Chief,’ by O. Henry, the characters Sam and Bill kidnap Johnny Dorset.’ There don’t seem to be much excitement around Summit on account of his disappearance, but maybe they haven’t realized yet that he’s gone'(O. Henry 342). They intended to hurt him but weren’t expecting what would happen. Johnny attempted to scalp Bill, the two kidnappers came up with a plan to return him to his father. In the end, they just ran away. The setting is a little town, where they kidnap the son of a wealthy man. Johnny Dorset, the boy they kidnap, proves to be a handful. He quickly takes control of the situation, manipulating his captors and threatening Bill with scalping. Sam and Bill think up a scheme to return Johnny to his father without being caught. The conflict is that the plot fails, however. In the end, Sam and Bill end up running away from Johnny. The theme is “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
“The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst is about a Brother who remembers the birth of his little brother William ‘Doodle’ Armstrong, a sickly child whose weakness disappoints him. “He was born when I was six and was, from the outset, a disappointment” (Hurst 1.3). Brother plans to smother Doodle in his sleep, but then the infant smiles, and Brother changes his mind. Brother becomes Doodle’s teacher and caretaker. Sometimes kind and sometimes cruel, Brother teaches Doodle to walk out of embarrassment, not love. With school approaching, Brother teaches Doodle to run and climb trees. One day, a scarlet ibis, blown off course in a storm, lands in the family yard and dies. Doodle buries it. On the way back home after a disastrous rowing lesson, Brother deliberately leaves the slower Doodle behind in a storm. He later returns to find Doodle dead on the ground, just like the scarlet ibis. These two short stories’ kind of have some correlation both having negative effects. However, the conflicts are different one talks about kidnapping and the other is not caring. The theme for the “Scarlet Ibis” is treating everyone equally we all are children of God. Both have external conflict and internal conflict.
O. Henry’s stories and the way he writes is mostly Paradoxical. Comparatively, his stories somewhat compare to the stories listed in this essay. O. Henry will always be known for his short stories.