ENG125: Introduction to Literature
September 10, 2012
The Gift of the Magi
The Gift of the Magi was about sacrificial love. The story explained how important it is to be willing to sacrifice for the one that you love. No matter what the circumstance, if a person can unselfishly give of themselves for another, they can experience life in a whole new way. Many people give what is not important to them and makes no difference. I think the term “it’s the thought that counts” has been used to justify just giving anything to a person without actually put your heart and soul into the gift you are giving. O. Henry uses The Gift of the Magi to demonstrate the importance of expressing your love through sacrifice.
O. Henry uses setting throughout the whole story to show the reader how little Mr. and Mrs. James Dillingham Young have. In the first paragraph the reader already has a sense of how meager their living conditions are when Della has counted the one dollar and eighty-seven cents three times. He explains the lengths she went through to save that much money, and sixty cents of it was all pennies.
He does not immediately describe their way of living all at once. He draws it out through the whole story so the reader never loses the sense of the struggle that Della and James are living in. In the second paragraph he says that she flopped down on the “shabby little couch”. (Clugston, 2010) He tells the reader that the flat was only eight dollars per week, which was probably still very expensive for them living on twenty dollars per week. It is also mentioned that they were not always used to living this way. James received an income reduction from thirty dollars per week to twenty dollars per week. Later in the short story when Della leaves the house O. Henry mentions that she put on an “old brown jacket” and an “old brown hat.” (Clugston, 2010) Even later in the...