Essay On The Gift Of The Magi

True Meaning of Christmas in The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

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The “Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry is a short story that has an interesting theme.

The main themes in this short story are that people do not need money to express love,

and the true meaning of Christmas. Things such as the characters, setting, and events

contribute to the theme.


The characters Della and Jim have very little money, and yet they express their

love by each selling their greatest treasures. Della sells her hair and Jim sells his watch. If

they were both wealthy people, the story would have most likely have changed for the

worse. Since these people make very little money, their gifts come more from the heart

and show how much they care about each other.


Having the story set in a big city impacted the theme of the story. Life is more

stressful in the city, especially for those who are less fortunate. The difference of the

setting being in the city rather than a small town, is that the cities often have many people

who cannot afford expensive presents. The city has people just like Della and Jim who

can only afford to have presents from the heart.


The events have a large role in the theme of people expressing their love without

money. Della sells her hair to buy a watch chain for Jim. Jim sells his watch to buy an

set of combs for Della. In the end they each end up not being able to use the

gifts but realize how much affection they each have. O. Henry describes the scene where

Della is preparing to go sell her hair very vividly. “So now Della's beautiful hair fell

about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters...Once she faltered for a

minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

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O. Henry         Magi         Gift         Christmas         People Today         Small Town         Presents         Carpet         Treasures         Minute        




” This just

shows how much they have to sacrifice to express love without money.


This story’s morals and themes show how ignorant people today are compared to

then. Modern people use more money than love on presents during the holidays. Today, it

seems that to express love, you need to buy things. In a way, not having money at hand

can transform you into a better, more compassionate person.



Essay on The Gift of the Magi

4446 Words18 Pages

Many critics agree, “The Gift of the Magi” is, in all respects, an amazing and one of a kind story. One critic says, “Ironically, Fagin arrives at something utterly crucial to the success of 'The Gift of the Magi': that it has everything—an absorbing (if short) narrative drive and a twist ending that makes it wholly original” (Korb). Even renowned critic, Rena Korb, agrees; O.Henry did an excellent job with this story. Though O. Henry wrote many great stories, one of his most famous, and favorite, stories of all time is “The Gift of the Magi.” “The gift of the Magi” is a classic about a couple who sacrifices their happiness for the other. It is one of Henry’s most popular stories by far; even being remade many times. Such a popular story…show more content…

O. Henry included two more quotes, “ Her eyes were shining brilliantly….” and “…it terrified her,” to show that her emotions changed many times. Della's emotions went from being sad, to being hopeful of getting money, and then to terrified that she would no longer be accepted by Jim. Though Della's emotions change, Della is still static overall. Without being directly stated in the story, it is shown that Della loves Jim in the beginning and also loves him at the end. Della even went to lengths of having her hair cut off in order to please him with a great gift. Throughout the entire story, hints are displayed, telling the reader that Della loves Jim (Henry). A major show of this being that she cut her hair off just to get him a good present. Critic Rena Korb talks about the sacrifice of goods stating, “convey… unselfish sacrifices we make for those we love…. Not sentimental, but universal truth” (“The Gift of the Magi”). Interpreted, this means that people give up things close to themselves in order to please people they love. Everybody does it, so nobody can say that they have not, or would not. Della is no different. Also, since there is no concrete proof of these feelings, it leads to the realization that there is indirect characterization and also sort of shows that the story is not driven to characterize the people. “The Gift of the Magi” is a plot driven story, not a character driven one (“The Gift of the

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