Describe Jim and Della's apartment in "The Gift of the Magi."

In "The Gift of the Magi," Jim and Della's apartment is an eight-dollar unit in a poor area of town and is sparsely furnished. The apartment is so small and meager that O. Henry does not go to great lengths describing the inside and leaves much to the reader's imagination. However, the reader is told that the Youngs have a "shabby little" couch and a thin mirror hanging between two windows.

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Jim and Della are a young couple who have recently had a downturn in their financial fortunes. Jim's income has been cut by a third, from thirty to twenty dollars a week. As a result, the two have moved to a substandard furnished apartment. The door buzzer doesn't work, and the mail won't fit in the tiny mail slot.

The narrator mentions a "shabby" sofa and a poor-quality mirror that reflects in a badly distorted way. He says the apartment doesn't exactly "beggar" description, but notes that the word "beggar" could be accurately used in conjunction with it. The couple is paying eight dollars a week for it on a twenty-dollar-a-week income, so like many poor people, then and now, they are spending a disproportionate amount of their income (forty percent) to live in what seems to be a tenement slum.

With little actual description, O. Henry deftly paints the portrait of a young couple down on their luck, perhaps due to a recession that has made it difficult for Jim to find a decent paying job. If Jim is feeling bad about not getting ahead or not being able to provide well for Della, that would help explain her determination to try to buy him a nice gift to help him feel better about himself.

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In O. Henry's classic short story "The Gift of the Magi," Jim and Della Young are depicted as a loving couple who live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet.

In the first paragraph of the story, O. Henry highlights their financial hardships by describing Della's difficulty saving a measly one dollar and eighty-seven cents, which is far from enough to purchase her husband a worthy Christmas present. After briefly introducing Della to the audience, O. Henry begins to develop the setting of the story by briefly describing the Youngs' impoverished home. The audience learns that the Youngs' apartment only costs eight dollars per week to rent and does not "beggar description," which means that it does not deserve a lengthy explanation. The reader can discern that there is not much inside the apartment that is worth describing.

Instead of giving an elaborate description of the apartment, O. Henry offers minimal information and leaves much to the reader's imagination. O. Henry also elaborates on the thin mirror inside their apartment, which is hung between two windows in one of the sparsely furnished rooms. The mirror is too small to show a person's entire reflection, and Della is forced to walk back and forth in a rapid sequence to look at herself. The only other furnishing described in the Youngs' meager apartment is their "shabby little" couch, which Della cries on at the beginning of the story.

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From the beginning of O. Henry’s classic short story “The Gift of the Magi,” the reader is aware of the poverty of the protagonists. The opening paragraph references the pitiful savings of the female character, Della, despite her frugalness and the emotional pain that her meager savings has caused. O. Henry, born William Sidney Porter, depicts an economicallyndepressed setting for the story that will follow. As he notes early in “The Gift of the Magi,” the setting will be sparse and confined due to the socioeconomic conditions in which the characters, the Youngs, exist: “Furnished rooms at a cost of $8 a week. There is little more to say about it.” As the story progresses, the author continues to emphasize the limited financial means of the apartment’s occupants, describing a letter box too small to accommodate a letter, and a looking glass, “the kind of looking-glass that is placed in $8 furnished rooms. It was very narrow. A person could see only a little of himself at a time.”

This is the setting in which O. Henry’s story of a young struggling couple sacrificing for each other in a particularly ironic manner takes place. Della, of course, cuts off and sells her long beautiful hair in order to buy a gold chain for Jim’s precious gold watch. Jim, in the meantime, had sold the watch in order to buy combs for Della’s hair. It is the sacrifice each makes for the other that gives the story its title. Jim and Della Young occupy a very humble abode—one befitting their stage in life. While the author presents only minor details about their apartment, it is clear that his protagonists are of very limited means.

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In O. Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi," Jim and Della live in "furnished rooms at a cost of $8 per week." The narrator does not provide the reader with much information about the rooms, leaving much of the imagery up to the reader's imagination. In fact, after stating the cost of the rooms, the narrator is clear that "[t]here is little more to say about it," which suggests that the rooms are so small and so sparse that they don't warrant any physical description at all.

Despite this statement from the narrator, two clear details that give the reader a sense of the apartment are present in the story. For example, Della looks at herself in a very small, very narrow mirror that hangs between two windows in one of their furnished rooms. These details are significant because two windows may allow enough light into the room so that Della can actually see herself and her hair, the hair that is as important to the plot of the story as the poverty in which the two characters live.

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