Compare and contrast how the use of irony in just lather that's all and the gift of the magi affects the mood of each story?
Well, the central irony to "Just Lather, That's All" is that the
barber feels that Captain Torres does not know that he is a rebel
sympathiser, and thus he has his massive internal conflict over
whether to kill him or not. However, it is only after the shave, as
Captain Torres is leaving, that he reveals to both the barber and
to the reader that he knew all along that the barber was a rebel
sympathiser. This of course radically changes our opinion of
In "The Gift of the Magi," on the other hand, the massive irony is
situational. Again, we only come to discover the irony as Della
does, when she realised with a sinking realisation that both
herself and Jim have sold their most precious possessions to buy a
gift for the other that they now are unable to use. The use of
situational irony in this story serves to highlight their
self-sacrificial nature and reinforce the message of what true love
is in terms of Christmas gift giving.