The Gift of the Magi: Narritive Essay

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Theme and Narrative Elements: The Gift of the Magi ENG 125: Introduction to Literature Theme and Narrative Elements: The Gift of the Magi The Gift of the Magi is a short story that was written by William Sydney Porter, better known by his pseudonym O. Henry in 1906. O. Henry was a prolific author penning many short stories beginning in 1899 until his death in 1910. O. Henry is famous for his trademark surprise endings which he called “snapper” endings (Clugston, 2010) and for his rich use of symbolism and irony. The story The Gift of the Magi follows the story of a young couple who are madly in love but suffering from the inability to provide the “perfect” gift for each other due to a lack of finances. O. Henry’s…show more content…
The “Storyteller” seems to be an omniscient presence because he seems to know everything, but focuses on Della and her situation. More than once the “Storyteller” steps back and offers insight into the story that goes above and beyond what Della and Jim see. For example, when Della is crying on the couch, the narrator starts describing the apartment. The most noticeable demonstration of this action is at the end when the narrator/storyteller zooms out and starts talking about the Magi. We are never let in to see what is happening with Jim throughout the story until the very end and then only to discover his reaction to Della’s haircut. This writing style captured me in the way that we got to see the “bigger picture” of what was really happening and I also was able to connect the events of the story with the tale of the Magi from the Bible. The next element of “The Gift of the Magi” that will be discussed is symbolism. O. Henry did not use a lot of symbolism in this story, the places that he did use it made them stand out all the more though. Three times O. Henry makes reference to events or characters in either the Old or New Testaments of the Christian Bible. First O. Henry describes Della’s hair as being so beautiful that even the Queen of Sheba would be envious of it. He then went on to say that Jim’s watch would have been the envy of King Solomon. Both the Queen of Sheba is known for her wealth and beauty, King

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