What is the moral of "The Gift of the Magi" and four reasons for your choice?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The moral, of "The Gift of the Magi" is that unselfish love is the greatest of all gifts, and those who realize this fact are the wisest.  This theme is explicitly stated by O. Henry at the end: "I have lamely related...the chronicle of two foolish children...who most unwisely sacrified for each other the greatest treasure of their house.  But....of all who give gifts these two were the wisest...They are the Magi." (1)

Della's love for Jim is true as she unselfishly cuts her most prized personal possession, her beautiful, long hair. Afterwards, "the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings" because she happily searches for Jim's gift, a gift like him...grand." She cannot wait to give this gift to her husbannd as a token of her love, yet she worries that he will be angered by her short hair.(2)

Jim has made an equal sacrifice for Della, having sold his prized watch to buy combs for her lovely tresses.  When Della opens the gift, she cries at first, but hugs them and says with resolve, "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"  so that he will not feel badly about buying them.(3)  Then, when Jim opens his presents, he does not regret that he no longer has a watch on which to put Della's chain.  Instead, he suggests that they put away the presents for a while: (4) "...suppose you put the chops on."  Although there are no gifts of material value, both give of their love, the most important and valuable of gifts.

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super123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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that unselfish love is the greatest of all gifts, and those who realize this fact are the wisest


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