Convince me that Della and Jim are foolish, and convince me how they are wise in the "Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry.

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good request, because it is always good to look at both sides of the story. 

First, Jim and Della can be seen as foolish, because they are spending money when they are poor. They should be saving their money for potentially hard times that may come in the future. In addition, their exchange of gifts is foolish, because in the end they cannot use what they have given to each other. Della has no more hair for her brushes and Jim has no pocket watch for his chain. In other words, they have given and received useless gifts. 

Second, we can say that they are wise, because there is something more important than receiving and more important than money. They have given themselves and their hearts in sacrifice. This love is the height of wisdom in the end. Perhaps, we can ask a question: "Do you think that Jim and Della were upset at the end of the story?" I think most people would agree that they were supremely happy. Why? It is more blessed to give than to receive.