In "The Gift of Maji," is it possible to change their order or  leave any out? Why or why not?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a kind of a logic question when you think about it.  If Delia and Jim had not made their individual sacrifices and purchases secretly, they would not have made them at all.  So the selling of Delia's hair and the watch fob purchase and the selling of Jim's watch and the comb purchase had to take place, if not simultaneously, then at least they had to take place during a period before each presented a gift to the other.  If Delia had been aware Jim had bought her combs, she would never have sold her hair.  If Jim had been aware she purchased a watch fob, he would never have sold his watch.  It is the fact that these events occur before the exchange of gifts that creates the irony in the story.  The reader is aware, of course, of the irony, but each of the characters are completely unaware of what the other is doing.  That is a rather lengthy way of saying the events had to take place as they did, or there would not be much of a story.