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What are other symbols in "The Gift of Magi" other than the watch and the comb?

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oreos727 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:39 AM via web

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What are other symbols in "The Gift of Magi" other than the watch and the comb?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:37 AM (Answer #1)

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There are many symbols in the "Gift of the Magi." Let me give you a few of them. The first symbol in the short story are the coins that Della counts in the beginning of the story. As you probably know the story starts off with a counting of coins. "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies." This shows their poverty and it also shows their frugality. This last point is important, because it shows that they are poor not because of overspending.

In connection to this point, there is a lot of money counting. There is mention of an 8 dollar a week flat and Jim makes 30 dollars a week. All of this attention of money shows that they are not only poor, but it sets the stage for their lavish gifts.

Another symbol is Della's long hair. The beauty of her hair shows that she is willing to give of herself for her love for Jim. This sacrificial love is one of the most powerful symbols of the book. ,


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kmccarthy17 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 6, 2012 at 3:30 AM (Answer #2)

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Another symbolic representation that can be attributed to Della's hair is her youth-fullness. 

By cutting off her hair, she losing some of her youthful beauty.  Her shorter hair is symbolic of her leaving her girlhood behind and become more a mature woman.

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