Discuss the characterization of Della in "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry.

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"The Gift of the Magi" is told through the eyes of Della. She is characterized as a caring person who dearly loves her husband Jim. She has been saving for a Christmas gift for him for a long time, which shows she is an individual who plans ahead, but because they are poor, she has been able to save very little. She is embarrassed at how hard she has to pinch pennies, showing her nature is naturally generous:

Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned . . .

We learn that Della loves her long hair that falls almost to her knees. Yet we also learn that she has the capacity to put another person ahead of herself when she sells her hair to buy a gift for Jim.

If there is a lesson the good-hearted and generous Della has to learn, it is that a costly gift isn't the most important way to show love. Getting Jim an expensive watch chain isn't what matters—she is a "foolish child" to think so—but the willingness to make generous sacrifices for Jim does matter, because it shows her heart is in the right place.

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