Table of Contents
The gift of Magi Summary
Jim and Della, a poor couple who are in love with each other are focus characters in the interesting story “The Gift of Magi.” It’s a classic story about giving and receiving affection. The family’s squalid living conditions are described in detail in the storey. It is two possessions that Jim is particularly proud of: his ancestral gold wristwatch, as well as his wife’s gorgeous and flowing long hair. Jim and Della’s desire to increase the value of each other’s possessions on Christmas Eve, ironically, results in an embarrassing situation for both of them. While making an earnest effort to show their genuine affection and concern for one another, they decide to choose the best possible Christmas gift for one another.
For the sake of purchasing a platinum fob chain for Jim’s gold watch, Della sacrifices her long hair, whereas Jim sells his only valuable possession for the sake of purchasing a set of combs for Della. Jim is sincerely interested in fulfilling Della’s desire for the combs. In spite of this, their unthinking sacrifice for one another turns out to be the most wise of the Magi’s gifts because it demonstrates the strength and test of true love.
In many ways, “The Gift of the Magi” is a storey about what it means to be valuable and what makes something valuable. Is it true that the value of something is solely determined by its price? Alternatively, are there things that are more valuable than money? The main characters are impoverished – this is repeatedly stressed – and yet the storey suggests that their love for one another makes them extremely wealthy, according to the plot. It is this love that drives them to part with the only things of monetary (or personal) value they possess in order to purchase gifts for one another. Perhaps it is because of their plight that they are able to appreciate what truly matters. It demonstrates that they are wealthier in their hearts despite their plight in terms of living conditions.
The author, O’Henry, masterfully incorporates elements of suspense and irony into the story. The twist in the tale makes it even more gripping and endearing as a result of the twist.
Critical Assessment of the story ‘The gift of Magi’.
William Sydney Porter, also known by the pen name O. Henry, was a short story writer in the United States. His tales are renowned for their unexpected endings.
The story begins with a sum of $1.87. That is all Della Dillingham Young requires to purchase a gift for her adoring husband, Jim. The following day is Christmas. When confronted with such a situation, Della immediately bursts into tears on the couch, allowing the narrator to fill us in on Jim and Della’s situation. The short version is that they live in a run-down apartment and are impoverished. However, they adore one another.
Once Della has regained her composure, she proceeds to a mirror to let her hair down and examines it. Della’s lovely, brown, knee-length hair is one of the couple’s two greatest assets. Jim’s gold watch is the other. Della restyles her hair, sheds a tear, and bundles up to brave the cold. She exits the apartment and makes her way to Madame Sofronie’s hair goods shop, where she sells her hair for twenty dollars. She now has $21.87 in her possession.
Della is able to find Jim the ideal present: an elegant platinum watch chain for his watch, thanks to her newly acquired funds. She purchases it for $21. Della returns home, delighted with her gift, and attempts to style her now-short hair (with a curling iron). She is unsure Jim will approve, but she did what needed to be done to get him a good present. When she is finished styling her hair, she immediately begins preparing coffee and dinner.
Jim arrives at 7pm to find Della waiting by the door and stares at her fixedly, unable to comprehend that Della’s hair has vanished. Della is perplexed by the significance of his response.
Jim snaps out of it after a brief moment and hands Della her present, explaining that his reaction will make sense once she opens it. Della tears it open and exclaims joyfully, only to immediately burst into tears. Jim has gifted her with the set of fancy combs she has desired for years, but she now lacks the necessary hair. Della’s sobs are nursed away by Jim. When she regains consciousness, she presents Jim with his gift, holding out the watch chain. Jim laughs as he reclines on the couch. He explains that he traded in his watch to purchase Della’s combs. He suggests they put their gifts away and sit down for dinner. As they do so, the narrator concludes the storey by declaring Della and Jim to be the wisest gift-givers. These individuals are known as the magi.
Della’s character in ‘ The Gift of the Magi’
Della is the story’s compassionate, warm, selfless, and at times hysterical heroine. Della is impoverished in terms of finances. As “mistress of the home,” she spends her days in a cramped flat (3). Essentially, she is a housewife. Della’s life revolves around one thing (or, more precisely, one person): her husband, Jim. She’s spent a good deal of time thinking about what to get him in the run-up to Christmas:
For months, she had been saving every penny she could, to no avail. A weekly budget of twenty dollars is insufficient. Expenses exceeded her projections. They are perpetually so. Purchase a present for Jim for only $1.87. Jim, hers She’d spent many a happy hour plotting something special for him.
Della expends nearly all of her energy on being a good friend to Jim. She’s been saving money for months in order to purchase a Christmas present. She has even endured humiliation as a result of penny-pinching at stores.
Jim may not make a lot of money, but he is Della’s cat’s pyjamas. He deserves the best, which is why she is so determined to find him the ideal present: “Something fine and rare and sterling – something that comes close to being deserving of the honour of being owned by Jim.”
Della is prepared to go to any length to accomplish this goal, even if it means selling her most prized possession – her hair. While she sheds a tear or two over the hair, she does not appear to be bothered by it. She doesn’t believe she has a choice at all. She is responsible for purchasing a gift for Jim: “I chopped off my hair and sold it because I couldn’t have survived Christmas without giving you a present. It will regrow – you will not be bothered, will you? I was compelled to “‘
Indeed, what appears to be the most upsetting aspect of Della’s hair loss is Jim’s apparent fondness for it. She is concerned that he will no longer find her attractive (though she has no reason to be concerned). She appears to care very little about herself. That is the essence of commitment.