“One Thousand Dollars” is a short story by master American short story writer O. Henry, most famous for his work “The Gift of the Magi,” a Christmas story commonly dramatized during the holidays. “One Thousand Dollars” concerns a carefree young man and a surprise inheritance. The story contains O. Henry’s signatures of witty dialogue and an ironic twist ending. The stories typically contain ironic reversals that come towards the end and One Thousand Dollars is no exception. At the start of the story, the protagonist, Robert Gillian, the heir presumptive of a fortune from his recently deceased wealthy uncle appears to be an idle, selfish, and irresponsible young man – a spendthrift who has
always had money to spend because of the allowance is given to him by his uncle.
One Thousand Dollars Summary by O.Henry
Two men meet in a lawyer’s office. The lawyer, Mr. Tolman, informs the younger man, called Young Gillian, that his recently deceased uncle has left him exactly $1,000 as part of his will. Gillian is surprised by the specific sum, musing that if it had been $10,000, he might have celebrated, and even $50 would be “less trouble.” Mr. Tolman reminds Gillian that as per the terms of the will, Gillian must provide receipts for anything he buys with the money.Gillian leaves Mr. Tolman’s office and visits his local social club, where he seeks out a fellow club member named Old Bryson. He interrupts Bryson as he’s reading, which annoys Bryson, who asks Gillian to bother someone else, perhaps someone in the billiards room. Gillian continues with his story anyway.
When he tells Bryson of his inheritance, Bryson is also surprised by the sum. Gillian’s uncle, Septimus, was worth half a million dollars, at least. Gillian explains that most of his uncle’s money went towards scientific research and the building of a hospital. His uncle’s butler and housekeeper each received a ring and $10, along with a young girl in his uncle’s care, Miss Hayden.Bryson sarcastically suggests that Gillian spends his money on a necklace for his actress girlfriend, Miss Lotta Lauriere, and then on a train ride to Idaho, where Gillian could live on a sheep ranch. Gillian agrees with the first half of this suggestion and takes a cab to the Columbine Theatre, where Lotta is performing. He goes backstage to see her, but she is in the middle of a performance and can’t go to the jewelry shop. He asks a cabbie what he’d do with the money, and the cabbie says he’d open a bar. He asks a blind beggar the same question, and the beggar reveals he actually has over $1,000 in his bank account.Gillian goes back to Mr. Tolman’s office and asks whether Miss Hayden received anything else but the ring and the paltry $10.
Mr. Tolman says she did not. Gillian visits Mr. Hayden at his late uncle’s house, where she is in mourning clothes. He lies to her, telling her that there was a mistake with the will, and she actually received $1000. He hands her his money, then confesses he loves her. She is kind, but can’t reciprocate. He borrows a pen and paper to write a receipt for how he spent the money—in an act of love towards Miss Hayden, the truly deserving party.He returns to Mr. Tolman’s office, receipt in hand. Mr. Tolman reveals that there was a secret stipulation in Septimus’ will. If Gillian spent his inheritance in a way that showed good character, he would receive $50,000. If he spent it wastefully, that same money would instead go to Miss Hayden. Mr. Tolman goes to read the receipt, but Gillian snatches it back and shreds it. He lies and claims he spent the money gambling on horses, and walks out of the office, whistling a happy tune. Because of his lie, the woman he loves will be wealthy and happy, and he doesn’t care if she’ll never love him back, or that no one will ever know about his act of kindness.
Characters: Gillian- is a very bold yet undetermined character. He expresses himself in a couple different ways throughout the story. In the beginning of the story, he shows himself as being young and fun, towards the end of the story he grows up and matures. The conflict in this story is money and sacrifice. The way he handles the conflict makes him come off as a dynamic character. He comes off as a dynamic character because of the way he handles the situation. The thesis of this story has to do with money, greed, love, sacrifice and human decency. Gillian is a middle aged guy. He does not have much to offer in life because he usually wastes his money at clubs or parties. He also does not have very many people that like him so he does not receive much motivation when dealing with everyday situations in life.
Theme: People can give value to their life by not being greedy. This is demonstrated when Mr. Gillian gives his $1,000 dollars to Mrs. Hayden. Robert Gillian shows to be even less selfish when he lies about gambling the money away so Mrs. Hayden will receive another $50,000 dollars.People can also give value to their lives by making change for what that person finds to be the better. The reader can conclude Robert Gillian isn’t the best money manager. This shows how Robert Gillian is known to be unwise with money.
Solved Question: Why does Gillian give miss Hayden the one thousand dollars?
Gillian gave Miss Hayden the $1,000.00 because he felt it was the right thing to do. She was left nothing by his Uncle, and he wanted to make it right.tells her he loves her; she apologizes. because she won’t or can’t accept his love. He adds the following postscript; “Paid by the black sheep, Robert Gillian, $1,000 on account of the eternal happiness, owed by Heaven to the best and dearest woman on earth.Afterward, he returns to the solicitors’ office where he learns of the will’s final terms. They ask him what he’s done with the money; there are other conditions he was unaware of, “If your disposal of the money in question has been prudent, wise, or unselfish, it is in our power to hand you over bonds to the value of $50,000, which has stories been placed in our hands for that purpose.