"The Gift" is perhaps the artistic centerpiece of White Light/White Heat
, being yet another dark story with a twist ending. It fits in theme alongside "Lady Godiva's Operation" and "Sister Ray
," while having a scenario which could have been an Alfred Hitchcock story. In fact, the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents
had its run in the years 1962-1965, a time period during which Lou Reed was also attending Syracuse University, and also the time period when he wrote The Gift
. Could there have been some influence?
Speaking of writers, one of Lou Reed's most influential mentors at Syracuse was the short-story author and poet Delmore Schwartz, who also wrote of dark subjects and Twilight Zone-like scenarios. In Schwartz's 1937 story In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
, a young man is agonized while sitting in a theater watching a film which depicts his parents' disastrous relationship. He yells at the screen, trying to influence the outcome, until the ushers drag him out. Lou Reed, in a portion of the PBS TV series American Masters
, calls it "the best short story I'd ever read."