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If by incite you mean an incentive for action, then it would be the fact that Della had been saving and saving for months, and all it amounted to was $1.87, clearly not enough to buy Jim a nice present. At this realization, Della decided that "There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl." But after this good cry, a light bulb goes off and she "pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length." She would sell her hair, hair "in which they both took a mighty pride." She does, buys him a chain for his watch, only to discover that Jim sold his watch to buy her a set of hair combs.
What started this chain reaction though was the description of how Della realized she would not have enough money to buy Jim a present that she felt reflected her love for him-this prompted her to action, and incited the rest of the events.
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