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In O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," how does Della prepare for Jim's return?

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tienkieulam | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM via web

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In O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," how does Della prepare for Jim's return?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Della cuts all of her hair off to get enough money to buy her husband, Jim, a gold chain for his watch for Christmas. After she gets home, she does her best with a curling iron to make herself pretty for when he gets home. She knows that it is going to be quite a shock for Jim to see her without her long tresses, so she does her best to make herself look the best that she can.

"When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling
irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is
always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task" (4).

Then she gets the coffe ready and the frying pan hot so she can cook the chops right when Jim comes home. She seats herself at the corner of the table at the exact time that he gets home every night and prepares for his entrance. She worries that Jim will think she looks like a chorus girl and won't love her any more. She also prays to God that Jim won't think she is ugly now that most of her hair is gone.

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