states “Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat” and “The magi, as you know, were wise men” (Clugston, 2014, Section 4.4). A sure way to recognize the use of second person is the pronoun you. In this story, when O. Henry shifts from third person to second person, he is
TWO LITERARY WORKS 5 actually trying to engage the reader into conversation. It is like he is actually talking to the reader instead of telling them a story. This has an effect on the reader and engages them even more. The settings of these stories are similar, they both take place in a house or an apartment. In The Story of an Hour the setting is Mrs. Mallard at home with a heart condition. Although Chopin does not give much details about the home, she does mention that the home has at least two floors; Mrs. Mallard goes upstairs to her bedroom. The events of the story seem to happen with an hour. On the other hand, in The Gift of the Magi , the author sets the scene of the apartment by giving details about the apartment or flat. He describes the name plate that is on the mailbox and gives details such as the pier-shaped glass. He paints a picture that the apartment is not one of luxury, but it is a happy home. Unlike The Story of an Hour, which takes entirely in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, the setting in the Gift of the Magi changes. Della, the main character, leaves the flat to get her hair cut at a beauty parlor. It is also Christmas Eve and the story seems to take place over the course of the day. The tone of these stories are similar, yet different. They both start out with a bleak outlook. In The Story of an Hour , Mrs. Mallard is overcome with grief at the news that her husband had been killed in a railroad accident, “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms” (Clugston, 2014, Section 2.2). In the Gift of the Magi, the tone is set in the opening of the story, “There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl” (Clugston, 2014, Section 4.4). O. Henry also describes the scene outside Della’s window as grey, a grey cat, grey fence and grey backyard. Symbolizing a sense of dread. However, over the course of the story, these tones change. They become feelings of joy. Mrs. Mallard, while still grieving, have feelings of joy come over her when she realizes that she is now an independent woman. However, the tone would change back again to a feeling of sadness
TWO LITERARY WORKS 6 when Mrs. Mallard’s husband would walk through the front door and she dies Della, although sad that she had to sell her hair, has feelings of joy when she finds the perfect gift for her husband, Jim. When they realize that they had both giving up the thing that meant the most to them, the mood continues to be that of joy and contentedness.
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