What are some quotes that support the theme of "The Gift of the Magi"?Please explain them in detail.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With the theme of O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" being that love supercedes materialism, that is, the spiritual gift of love is far more important than any material object, much of the written narrative is directed toward this moral.

When, for instance, Della decides to sell her most precious possession, hair that the Queen of Sheba would have envied, in order to purchase a platinum watch chain for her husband's handsome watch, she is delighted to be "ransaking the stores for Jim's present."  In fact, O. Henry writes that "the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings."

As Jim arrives home, he stops inside the door with "a peculiar expression on his face."  When he learns why Della has cut her hair, "[He] enfolded his Della."  Jim explains that there is nothing that "could make me like my girl any less."  Further, he says  that if she opens the package she will understand his perplexity.  And, when Della discovers the combs for which she has yearned, she

...hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say, 'My hair grows so fast, Jim!'

Then, Della hurries to give Jim his present, the watch chain.  But Jim has sold his watch in order to buy the combs for Della.  Instead of being upset and regretting his loss, Jim tells Della,

"...let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em awhile.  They're too nice to use just at present...."

Finally, the authorial intrusion of O. Henry explicates the theme:

...And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasure of their house.....Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.  Everywhere they are wisest.  They are the Magi.

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