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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
By: (1862-1910)

The Gift of the Magi is an O. Henry short story in which a young couple are very much in love with each other but can barely afford their one-room apartment. For Christmas, they each make a sacrifice to purchase a gift for the other, with ironic results.

The moral of the story is that physical possessions, however valuable they may be, are of little value in the grand scheme of things. The true unselfish love that the characters, Jim and Della, share is greater than their possessions.

O. Henry ends the story by clarifying the metaphor between the characters in the story, Della and James (or Jim), and the Biblical Magi. The Gift of the Magi features O. Henry’s characteristic twist ending and use of flowery diction.
(Summary adapted from Wikipedia.org)

First Page:

This etext was created by Susan Ritchie of Cincinatti, Ohio [8631 Darnell Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45236. email: phred@ginger.sps.mot.com (send mail to Susan care of this email address)]

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad... Continue reading book >>


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