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The story dwells on the practice of borrowing and lending. It is a natural tendency to borrow money from our friends. People lend money to their near and dear ones, when the latter are in need. However, what is painful about this act, is the fact that while the human memory surprisingly stays strong in the lender's case, it diminishes with time in the case of the borrower. We see in the story that whenever the narrator meets his friend, his mind is preoccupied with the thought of the one dollar he has lent to his friend, and much of his conversation is also guided by the same thought. Ironically, he himself says that he might have forgotten to return the money borrowed from others. This theme is not merely confined to the level of the individuals. The narrator refers to the economics and borrowing practices of nations as well.
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