The two literary readings I have chosen to compare is “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Necklace”. The gift of the Magi captured my interest because of the profound themes of love and sacrifice. A heartfelt story was brought to us through the story “The Gift of the Magi’ he wrote such a touching short story about a couple’s love. This couple, Jim and Della, are not rich with worldly possessions, but they are rich in love. Their love fills in for everything that they lack as far as materials possessions. On the other hand, “The Necklace” written by Guy de Maupassant in 1884 is about a poor couple as well. However, Mathilde and Monsieur are not the happiest couple. Mathilde feels as though she needs and deserves more material possessions. She relies on her husband to buy her things and he takes all her mental abuse.
Both stories might have similar themes however; the wives’ characters, expressions, and thoughts are all completely different. The themes of these two stories are very similar. “The Gift of the Magi” is about a poor couple who are satisfied with what they have. They do not dream about buying something for themselves but each other. They do not fight but they encourage one another. On the other hand, in “The Necklace” another poor couple has chosen to live in a dream rather than reality.
Mathilde dreams of the living in a beautiful home whereas Della does not seem to notice her surroundings. It is the narrator that paints the picture of the sparse surroundings. While her husband Monsieur seemed to be content with their home. “When she sat down to dine, before a tablecloth three
Days old, in front of her husband, who lifted the cover of
the tureen, declaring with an air of satisfaction, “Ah, the good pot-au-feu
I don’t know anything better than that,” she was thinking Of delicate repasts, with glittering silver, with tapestries…” (Maupassant as cited in Clugston, 2010, 8.2 Short story para. 4)
In this passage we learn that Monsieur he is happy and living in the moment. Whereas poor Mathilde is so busy day dreaming of what she thinks should be, that she is not present. Mathilde thinks about what she dose not have rather than what she has. In “The Gift of the Magi” the narrator tells us about the living conditions of Jim and Della’s day to day life.
“…One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents Of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time
By bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man
And the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with silent
Imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.
Three times Della counted it.” (Henry, as cited in Clugston, 2010, 5.4 Short story, para. 6)
This passage gives us a picture of just what little means Della and Jim have. You can tell that Della tried her best to save every penny, and she sounds disappointed in the amount she was able to save. She counts the money over and over, just to make sure of the amount.
In the second paragraph the narrator tells us how Della can think of nothing else to do, so she sits on the couch. Della sits on the couch and cries. I find this both sad and intriguing all at the same time. It seems sad, because the situation seems hopeless at this point, intriguing because her love runs so deep for Jim. Della spends her day crying and thinking about what she could buy with the little amount of money she has. She wants to buy something special for her husband for Christmas. That kind of love is endearing and rare these days. Often we as a society focus on materials items rather than the true meaning of family and Christmas.
In today’s economy there are so many families struggling to get by, myself included. I think we can learn so much from Jim and Della. First of all, the way they both puts others needs before their own, the sacrifice the made. It would be difficult if not impossible to find...