Our American Stories episode for this week is the O. Henry story, “One Thousand Dollars.” The main character, Gillian, (spoiler alert!) gets an inheritance, $1,000.00, from his rich uncle who has died. But he is not too happy, because he knows his uncle was very rich and had “over a half a million,” according to a friend.
So our hero goes around asking his friends and people he meets in the street, “What would you do with a thousand dollars?” He gets some wild answers, ranging from sheep ranching to buying diamonds, to starting a bar. In contrast to his uncle’s great wealth and Gillian’s small inheritance, he learns that the people who lived with his uncle each got only ten dollars. This seems like a cruel joke.
After you’ve read the story, you can write a comment here to let me know how you would spend the $1,000. If you’d like, you can apply the current inflation rate. When this story was written, $1,000 would go pretty far. It would be $26,315.79 in 2014 dollars.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Jill Robbins