The Gift of Love

Topics: Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Fiction Pages: 3 (1248 words) Published: June 22, 2011
"The Gift of the Magi", by O. Henry (nom de plume for William Sydney Porter), is the short story of a poor, young couple, Della and Jim, whose lives revolve around their love for each other and the desire to show that love through gifts at Christmastime. Such is their love that they sacrifice their most valuable possessions to purchase the perfect Christmas gifts for one another. The home they share speaks heavily of their poverty and the dreary world outside, yet the happily self-sacrificing way they give shows that their love knows no bounds. It is in this way that shows them to be poor of worldly goods, yet truly rich in love, where it counts. Henry uses a number of literary devices to tell his tale, such as the use of Biblical allusions to show this story as a parable and create contrast, wonderfully detailed imagery, and the ironic twist ending, for which this story is so well known. Biblical allusions play a part in the telling of this story in a few ways. (Scofield). Most obvious is the use of the term Magi, which harkens to the Biblical tale of the three kings, or Magi, that visit Jesus upon his birth. The last paragraph of the story uses the Biblical story of the Magi to lead us to ponder what it means to be truly rich, “Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest.” (Henry). The story also uses two other Biblical references when telling about the couple’s most prized possessions. Jim’s pride in his watch is compared to King Solomon’s treasures and Della’s in her hair to the beauty of the Queen of Sheba: Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy. (Henry). By showing the envy that would be had by these wealthy...
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