Comment on the title of the storyWhy is the story titled "The Gift of the Magi"?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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O. Henry gave his story the fanciful title of "The Gift of the Magi" because it takes place during the Christmas season--and was probably written as a Christmas story for publication at that time. The Magi were the three wise men who brought precious gifts to the Christ child shortly after he was born. The gifts which the young husband and wife in the story exchange at Christmas are also precious because each of them gave up a precious possession in order to get the money to buy a rather ordinary gift for the other--hair combs for the wife and a watch fob for the husband. The title is O. Henry's way of suggesting that what makes a gift valuable is the love and thoughtfulness that go into it. There also seems to be a suggestion that Della may be having a baby of her own in the near future. This is indicated by the fact that they both have to wait some time to be able to use the gifts they received from each other. Della will let her hair grow back, and Jim will save money to redeem his watch.

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