The Gift of the Magi

1377 Words Nov 24th, 2013 6 Pages
LITERARY ANALYSIS ESSAY

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

The Gift of the Magi is one of the most popular short stories by O. Henry, a pen name for William Sydney Porter - a renowned American author. Originally published in 1906, in O. Henry’s second collection of short stories, The Gift of the Magi which displays all of the major O. Henry traits in abundance has given him credit for his genuine talent. It has been retold in various forms since then, especially at Christmas time. The story is about a young poor couple, Jim and Della Dillingham Young, who each sells their most precious possession in order to buy a Christmas gift for their partner, but in doing so, they end up making each others gift worthless. The profound
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There was no greater sacrifice that would have been offered apart from what the two did. Della’s endless love for Jim is particularly portrayed when she not only swallows her pride to shamelessly haggle and humiliate herself in grocery purchases, but further shaves her hair and sacrifices her good looks to secure Jim a present that would show her great love for Jim. As a falling action, when the truths all unfold, the couple realizes that both of their gifts are currently worthless due to their “foolish sacrifice”. Consequently, Jim suggests that they should put away their Christmas gifts and save them for later use. The Gift of the Magi bears simple yet effective use of paradoxical coincidences to produce a striking and unexpected irony for the ending. Though the presents Jim and Della had made effort to buy each other are now of no use at all, their self-sacrifice for the sake of love become even more convincing and admirable. In the denouement, the couple remains in loves and has learnt an important but devastating lesson that love should not be measured by the amount of money spent on the gifts to each other. They are as wise as the Magi in the art of gift giving, who once followed a guiding star to Israel to pay homage to the newborn Jesus, bringing with them gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Another outstanding literary element leaving readers with a massive impression is an unusual point of view from which the story is told. O. Henry does not

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