The story is titled “My Lost Dollar”. Why is this apt as opposed to “The Borrowed Dollar”?

QuestionsThe story is titled “My Lost Dollar”. Why is this apt as opposed to “The Borrowed Dollar”?
Sneha asked 4 months ago

Justify the title of Stephen Leacock’s short story “My Lost Dollar”. How is this title more appropriate than the possible title “The Borrowed Dollar”?

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1 Answers
Staff answered 4 months ago

Stephen Leacock’s story “My Lost Dollar” is less about the financial transaction and more about the human emotions and behaviors surrounding it. The present title reflects the story’s underlying themes and the narrator’s perspective more accurately as opposed to the suggested title “The Borrowed Dollar”.

The title “My Lost Dollar” highlights the story’s focus on the narrator’s sense of personal loss. It’s not just any dollar that’s gone; it’s his dollar. This personalization adds to the humour and the sense of attachment and absurdity over such a small amount.

The use of “lost” instead of “borrowed” subtly comments on human nature’s tendency to forget debts they owe. From the narrator’s viewpoint, the dollar might as well be lost, given how its return seems improbable. It points to the idea that once money is lent, it often becomes ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for the borrower, but not for the lender.

“Borrowed” implies a mutual agreement and the expectation of the money being returned, focusing on the transaction’s temporary nature. “Lost,” however, suggests a permanent state, emphasizing the narrator’s skepticism about ever seeing his dollar again.

“My Lost Dollar” also injects a sense of irony and humour into the title, which is consistent with Leacock’s style. It dramatizes the situation, making the loss of a single dollar seem both tragic and comically petty, thereby engaging the reader with the story’s light-hearted critique of human pettiness and irrational behavior.

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