The Gift of the Magi

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“Selfless love”

The story I chose to write about is The Gift of the Magi, which was written in 1906 by O. Henry. The Gift of Magi is about a young married couple on Christmas Eve trying to rummage up enough money to buy each other better than average gifts. There are many elements in this story that support the overall theme. The setting, symbolism, character, point of view, and tone all tie the main theme together which is selfless love.

The setting of the story takes place in New York City either on the streets shopping or in the couple’s small well-kept apartment. The setting shows that they are living in a small apartment but still content with what they have. Della is a young wife who has beautiful long hair; she is a saver and tried to save as much money as possible to buy Jim a nice gift for Christmas. Jim is a young, hardworking, caring husband that appears to have a good sense of humor at the end of the story. The story is told in third person point of view, which allows the narrator to describe the characters and their situation better throughout the story which allows you to see the theme of the story. The tone of the story is the attitude that is shown throughout the story. In the Gift of the Magi the tone is Situation Irony. “When Della sells her hair to buy a gift for Jim, both she and the reader expect that use of the gift will continually be a reminder of her love—but O. Henry arranges a plot that prevents that from happening. Similarly, when Jim buys the combs for Della, he expects that her wearing them will be an expression of love—but, ironically, she does not have enough hair left to hold them. This is a classic example of situation irony” (Clugston, 2010).

The Gift of the Magi uses many symbols throughout the story to represent other things in the story. The story being told during Christmas time, and the title of Magi both represent the original Magi—the three wise men that brought gifts to baby Jesus in a selfless manner. Combs...
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