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The Short Story: the Gift of the Magi

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The Short Story: the Gift of the Magi

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The short story The gift of the Magi, by O.Henry, is a story of poverty and depression and how a great love overcomes it. The conflict and the setting create the intense suspense in the story. The main conflict in the story is poverty. Della does not have enough money to buy her husband a Christmas present and Christmas was a day away. She was thinking of every possibility of how to get Jim a present. At last she decided to give up her most prized possession. In the book it says, “Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Young’s in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. 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.” This points out that they had no valuables. Only a watch and Della’s hair. Which shows t they were having money issues and couldn’t afford anything expensive, nice or valuable. Both Della and Jim sacrificed each of their only valuable possessions to give one another a Christmas present. Jim sacrificed his watch for a turquoise shell comb set for Della’s beautiful hair. Ironically Della had cut her hair to make money for Jims present, a gold chain to hold his watch. Although it does backfire on both of them it shows us how much they loved each other. This story was set in the early 1900’s during The Great Depression in New York City. Times were tough and money was tight. In the book it says, “ She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas day, and she had only one dollar and eighty-seven cents with which to buy Jim a...