Prof. Matthew Norsworthy
April 30, 2012
The Gift of Magi
In this short story, The Gift of Magi, O.Henry focuses mainly on one most important theme which is selfless love. In this writing, whose title is an allusion to the gift of the three wise men to Jesus when he was born, the writer clearly shows the value of personal affection and the true meaning of giving gifts. In short, the main idea is that the best gift is that which is most sincere and comes from the bottom of the heart instead of an extravagant, lavish possession that would bring nothing to the warmth of the human relationship. In this paper, I will focus on symbolism which is “something that has a literal identity, but also stands for something else---something that is widely understood and has been developed over a long period of time or by common agreement”(Clugston, 2010)., and Ironic Tone “creating a discrepancy or contradiction between what is expected to happen in a story and what actually happens”(Clugston, 2010). In addition, I will describe how these elements contributes to the overall theme of The Gift of Magi, which is selfless love.
In the story, the gifts that the two loving spouses give each other become symbols of the selfless love that they feel for each other. The author begins the story with Della wanting to get a Christmas gift for her husband, which was a platinum fob chain to go with his precious watch, but due to their financial circumstances she could not afford to buy him the gift, therefore she decide to cut her hair, which is her most priced possession. The author goes on to describe the emotional anguish Della experience as she observe her reflection between the pier glass in the window, he states “Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full...