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“My Lost Dollar” by Stephen Leacock

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The story, my lost dollar written by Stephen Butler Leacock is a hilarious excerpt based upon human behavior on borrowing and lending money intervened with the natural tendency of human memory of the borrower and humorous failed attempts of its revival by the lender.

In My Lost Dollar by Stephen Leacock, we have the theme of honesty, hypocrisy, appearance, letting go, frustration and acceptance. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed man the reader realizes after reading the story that Leacock may be exploring the theme of letting go. As to why the narrator doesn’t simply ask Todd outright for the money is also interesting. Again the narrator is looking for a standard from others that he himself cannot meet.

The author’s friend Todd was going for a short stay in Bermuda. Just before his departure, he borrowed a dollar from the author to pay off the taxi. When Todd wrote a letter to from Bermuda, the author expected a dollar bill in the envelope.

Todd has returned from Bermuda but has not bothered to return the one dollar to the author. The lender is too decent to offend his friend by demanding his dollar back. However, the thought that Todd had borrowed the dollar bothered the author, and he made some futile attempts to get back the dollar.

First, he went to the railway station to receive Todd when he returned from Bermuda. He found Todd very cheerful, but at all ashamed that he had not returned his loan of a dollar. Later, during an evening tête-à-tête, the author raised the topic of the American dollar and asked whether it was used in Bermuda too. Todd did not get the hint about the unpaid dollar.

The author met Todd almost daily in the Club; however, Todd did not refer to the due dollar. One day, Todd is disapprovingly observed that Poland had defaulted its debts. The author was very much upset that Todd did not consider his unpaid debt. Annoyed at Todd’s irresponsible attitude, the author wrote off his loaned dollar and added Todd’s name to his list of defaulters of one-dollar loans.

The author, offended and distraught, accepts that forgetting to repay loans was a human frailty.  The distressed by the thought that he could have taken such loans and not repaid it. Tormented with guilt, the author desired that his creditors would claim their repayments. Haunted by the disquiet of loan defaults, he wished to initiate a “Back to Honesty’ campaign. He is persuaded that honesty should be the core of all nations seeking greatness.

The author did not desire his ‘forgetful’ friend to know of the agony he had undergone because of the non-payment of the debt and exhorted his readers not to bring the copies of the story to the University Club Montreal patronized by Major Todd.

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