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The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry
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In "The Gift of the Magi," what do details about Jim's name on the letter-box, his arrival for dinner, and his clothing tell you about his life and finances?

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The very dignified full name on the mailbox has become indistinct and difficult to read. A person who was proud of his station in life would make a point of proclaiming his full name and respectfully maintaining the name card by his mailbox.

Jim's return from work at 7PM is very late for the end of the work day. Jim must need to work long hours, as many as he can possibly get, in order to support himself and Della. It's December 24 in New York City, which means it is probably cold, possibly windy. However, Jim is wearing a worn out old overcoat and no gloves. This is not the attire that one would choose to wear to work unless he had no alternative. Jim has no choice, because there is no money to pay for a new coat or gloves. Life is financially difficult for the Youngs.

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