It's Monday again...and time for a third installment of Short Story Monday. The decision to choose an O. Henry story came from a comment Molly made last week. She enjoys Short Story Monday because it introduces her to stories other than the O. Henry and Guy de Maupassant she generally teaches her 9th graders. Now I must have read "The Gift of the Maji" in high school, but I have no recollection of it. So, I decided to re-visit O. Henry with one of his lesser-known stories.
Mammon and the Archer opens with the line:
"Old Anthony Rockwell, retired manufacturer and proprietor of Rockwell's
Eureka Soap, looked out the library window of his fifth Avenue mansion and
It's written with a tone of cheerful cynicism emphasising the pleasures of money and setting up an ideological battle between love and money. Mammon (and I had to look this up) is wealth regarded as evil and the object of greedy pursuit. The archer, of course, is Cupid. Anthony's son, Robert, is bemoaning the fact that the love of his life will be leaving for Europe before he has the opportunity to reveal his true feelings.
Anthony represents wealth in the story. He makes his position clear:
"I bet my money on money every time. I've been through the encyclopaedia down to Y looking for something you can't buy with it; and I expect to have to take up
the appendix next week..."
Love is championed by his sister, Ellen:
"... Aunt Ellen, gentle, sentimental, wrinkled, sighing, oppressed by
"Oh, Anthony," sighed Aunt Ellen, "I wish you would not think so much of
money. Wealth is nothing where true affection is concerned. Love is
O. Henry's stories are famous for surprise endings. Mammon and the Archer is no different. Just as you think the story is wrapping up, a surprise twist grabs the reader adding to the delight of the story.
Read the entire story on-line here, then visit The Book Mine Set to see who else is participating in Short Story Monday this week.