William Sydney Porter
September 2, 2012
The Gift of the Magi by William Sidney Porter
William Sidney Porter, better known under his pen name “O. Henry”, born September 11 1862 in Greensboro North Carolina. Accused of embezzling bank fund, Henry was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. During this dark period in his life, he begin his literary career with his stories that were to be collected in his first book “Cabbage and Kings” (1904). Henry left the stories mainly laid in New York, Central American and Western American. The majority of the stories that can be found, however, are set in Manhattan, New York City. In these works, Henry portrayed the atmosphere and the scenes of its restaurant and its old lodging houses really true to life. For this reason, Henry remains secure in the hearts of the public as, “the prose laureate of Manhattan Island” (1945,Lewiston Journal Magazine Section). Finally he deserves rank with America’s greatest of the short story and hands down far and wide up to now. His representative work The Gift of the Magi (1906) is an extremely moving story of a young couple who sell their best possessions, Della’s hair and Jim’s watch, in order to get money for a Christmas present for each other. The hair is cut and sold to buy a glorious watch chain, and the watch is sold to buy a beautiful comb, neither knowing that the present can no longer be of any use when offered to the loved one. After the first reading, the whole story seems tell about a funny story, but no one cannot laugh out. This essay focuses on the ending of The Gift of Magi. It reflects the ambience of happiness with sadness of the couple’s life. There is something deep inside this story. Many people studies Henry’s The Gift of Magi from different perspectives, such as analyzing the characteristics, the theme and also personal background of The Gift of Magi. The style of O. Henry’s short...