A literary analysis of the short story the gift of the magi

She flops down on their shabby couch and cries, while the narrator goes on to introduce the young couple, Della and Jim Dillingham Young. The narrator then describes their apartment, remarking upon its cheapness—8 dollars a week—and lack of a working doorbell. This first section of the story focuses on how little the Dillingham Youngs have of external or material value. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Della stops crying but is still at a loss for how she might buy a Christmas present worthy of Jim.

A literary analysis of the short story the gift of the magi

Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" are what simply captivate the reader in such a short amount of pages. The story of Jim and Della on a cold Christmas Eve at the turn of 20th century America is centered around what is remarkably relevant to what many readers have experienced in their own lives; the inevitable stresses, sacrifices, and joys of the holiday season.

Strapped for cash and wanting to give her beloved husband the most luxurious gift for Christmas to express her deep passion for him, we are immediately introduced to the initial situation at hand. With only a dollar and some change to spend on Jim, Della is forced into a situation where she must find a way to acquire the appropriate funds to spend on Jim's gift, but how?

This is what leads us to the major conflict of the short story.

Style and Technique

Though in a more traditional style, a story will introduce you to a situation and will then carry out events that eventually lead to a major conflict. Henry's unorthodox style of telling his story, the narrator puts the reader in the midst of an issue that must be resolved.

It is said that the hardscrabble couple have only two things that are considered of any high value; Jim's gold watch and Della's luscious locks of hair, or "cascade of brown waters" as her hair is referred to.

With this in mind, Della decides, after lengthy tearful contemplation, that she must sell her hair and risk her beauty in exchange for the money to buy Jim's gift. Though this decision has led to the solution of the original situation at hand of how Della will find money for her gift, it has ultimately led to the most considerable conflict of the story that is the question of whether or not Jim will appreciate her gift, or be upset at the cost of the gift.

The most suspenseful part of the story comes during the rising action and complication within the scene where Della awaits for Jim's return home from work after she has cut off her hair he had so deeply admired. The narrator compares Della's now curly-headed appearance to that of a "truant schoolboy" and Della also worries that Jim may think she resembles a "Coney Island chorus girl" as she looks at her reflection and begins to doubt her decision will pay off.

As she readies the house for supper, Jim arrives home, and it is at this point that the stories reaches it's complication. Jim's reaction is best defined as shocked and aghast when he sees his short-haired wife. He is visibly neither upset nor elated, but simply stares with little emotional expression at Della.

Della, of course, does not know what to make of this reaction and struggles to understand if he approves or not.

The Gift of the Magi

After finally snapping out of his staggered trance, Jim explains the reasoning for his reaction that is found within the gift that he had bought for Della as we reach the climax of the story. Jim had bought Della a set of combs that she had coveted for a length of time, but Jim had never been able to get her due to his lack of money.

It is now made clear why he had reacted with such shock and it is also made clear that he is not upset with Della's decision to cut off her hair as he states that "there's nothing in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo" that could make him lose feelings for Della.

This climactic twist in the plot is what may surprise, or ensure, the reader and his or her thoughts of how Jim would react, though the suspense is not yet fully lifted as the reader is still left to guess how Jim may react to what Della spent the money for her hair on, and also how Jim was able to get the money for his gift considering the rather equivalent financial status of both partners at the time.

A literary analysis of the short story the gift of the magi

Following Della's revealing of the platinum chain for Jim's watch as her gift to Jim, the suspense is finally released from the scene in the denouement when Jim tells Della, with a genuine smile, that he had sold his watch for the combs.

It is at this point that we realize that both of their gifts had become relatively futile to their respective recipients, yet both Jim and Della found themselves more delighted than if they had received theThis story was originally published on Dec 10, in The New York Sunday World as "Gifts of the Magi." It was subsequently published as The Gift of the Magi in .

Literary Analysis-The Gift of Magi The story features two main characters, Della and her twenty two year old husband Mr. James Dillingham Young. The couple is simply referred to as Jim and Della respectively within the story. The Gift of the Magi Analysis Literary Devices in The Gift of the Magi.

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. There's not a whole lot of imagery or metaphor in this story. That makes the few Bible allusions stand out all the more. There's the whole "magi" reference.

"The Gift of the Magi" is a blissfully simple, short story. It's written as if an.

Navigate Guide

Literary Analysis of "The Gift of the Magi" This is what leads us to the major conflict of the short story. Though in a more traditional style, a story will introduce you to a situation and will then carry out events that eventually lead to a major conflict. Instead, in O.

Henry’s unorthodox style of telling his story, the narrator puts. Literary Analysis of The Gift of the Magi The twists and turns of the plot as it unfolds within O.

Henry 's “The Gift of the Magi” are what simply captivate the reader in such a short amount of pages. The Gift of the Magi is a short story by the American writer O. Henry, written and published in It takes place at Christmas time and tells the story of Jim and Della Dillingham, a poor.

Literary Analysis of the Gift of the Magi - Essay