In the short story “Just Lather, That’s All,” the barber has the colonel in his barber chair. The man has killed many of the barber’s cohorts in a terrible public manner. The barber is a revolutionary. He has the man in front of him. It is the man who hunts down revolutionaries and executes them.
The barber could kill the man so easily and he toys with the idea. He agonizes over the idea, but i the end he just lets it go because he doesn’t want his life to change. The irony is that because he did not kill the man, he will probably be killed by the man because the man knew the whole time that he was a revolutionary. He reveals this at the end of the story. It is ironic that he did not kill the man and now he will be killed.
The mood in the lottery is stressful and very tense as the barber toys with his decision.
I the story “The Gift of the Magi” young couple are married and waiting for Christmas to come. They have no money to buy each other gifts. She has looked at some combs she liked a lot but knew she would never have them for her hair. She sees he has an old watch hang and would look good with a new one. She sacrifices her hair to buy him the watch attachment. He sells his watch to buy her the hair combs. When he finds out what she has done he shows her his gift. He then laughs and they decide to put their gifts away.
The tone in the story is one of kindness and comfort and love. There is no anger or terror. There is only a warm sense of love even as the irony of the situation is revealed.