Questions and Answers for The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

Since O. Henry's stories are set at the turn of the twentieth century, much of the situations and settings are, of course, relative to this time period during which there were small specialized...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2011 6:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The pier glass in this story works on a couple of different levels here. First, on a literal level, as the previous response discusses, the pier glass causes Della to notice her long hair and...

Latest answer posted October 3, 2016 3:52 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

When Della seeks out the place where she can sell her long brown locks, she finds the sign that says "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." When she enters the shop, she sees the owner. The...

Latest answer posted June 1, 2018 6:00 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The details in paragraph 7 of “The Gift of the Magi” add to the sense we’ve already gained that Jim and Della’s financial situation is pretty dire. We already know that Della only has $1.87 with...

Latest answer posted July 12, 2020 10:36 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Three words that could describe the relationship between Jim and Della are "deep," "unselfish," and "reciprocal." The relationship between them is deep; it is not based on trivial or...

Latest answer posted March 14, 2016 4:26 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In O. Henry's story "The Gift of the Magi," the word "magi" has two different meanings. On the surface level, it refers to the "wise men" spoken of in the Gospel of Matthew who came from the East...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2016 4:43 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

Henry is here referring to the Biblical magi—the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus in the manger. He says that because the wise men were wise, their gifts were accordingly wise...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2019 12:50 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia defines "figurative" language as the use of words in a way in which the author "expresses one thing in terms normally denoting another," using words that can be...

Latest answer posted January 14, 2020 11:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The last lines of O. Henry's short story thematically correspond to the story's message regarding the importance of love and generosity. O. Henry is saying that any person who gives with a full...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry was a skillful writer. He does not dwell on Jim and Della's poverty in any one place in his story because that would interfere with the dramatic development. But it can be observed that he...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2014 11:06 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Clearly conflict is one of the major ingredients in this excellent short story, which is normally used to teach irony in schools. The major source of external conflict that Della faces is against...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2010 3:55 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

Yes, Jim and Della have sacrificed the greatest treasures of their house for each other because they are so poor that Della's hair and Jim's watch were their only material treasures. Neither of...

Latest answer posted December 8, 2015 8:14 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The flat is a shabby, furnished flat on the second floor with at least two windows. The Youngs are not a wealthy couple. They rent a flat, which is equipped with a shabby couch. All of their...

Latest answer posted February 24, 2016 7:57 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The significance of the title is twofold. First, we need to realize that the title comes from the New Testament. The magi, or wise men, gave the baby Jesus gifts. According to the the gospel of...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2016 1:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The number three is also a recurring element in a fairy tale. (Incidentally, the numbers 5, 7, and 9 come up sporadically, too.) There are often three sisters, three wishes, three challenges, etc.,...

Latest answer posted December 19, 2009 8:48 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

While I recognize that O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is old-fashioned and reeking of sentimentality, I still feel touched by it every time I read it. I think this is because O. Henry himself...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2012 2:54 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In the first paragraph of O. Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi," he recalls how Della managed to save one dollar and eighty-seven cents by scrupulously saving each penny that she had. O....

Latest answer posted August 17, 2017 11:51 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry himself writes at the end of "The Gift of the Magi": And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each...

Latest answer posted November 8, 2015 2:55 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry tells about Della's and Jim's most prized possessions in a single rather fanciful paragraph early in the story. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which...

Latest answer posted December 27, 2015 11:53 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

"The Gift of the Magi" was first published on December 10, 1905, just in time for Christmas. It was written shortly before that. It is set in the world which O'Henry knew: New York City, near or...

Latest answer posted January 20, 2019 9:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In character with Della, her fears are not selfish. She wants to look pretty, not for herself, but for Jim. For, after she returns home, she uses the curling iron on her hair to make herself look...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2010 6:45 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In addition to the physical characterization mentioned in the previous response, this story also includes a few moments of direct characterization to describe what a character is like internally....

Latest answer posted September 21, 2016 2:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

This question isn't necessarily easy to answer because the narrator doesn't expressly tell readers how Jim reacts to Della's new hairstyle. The text does tell us a lot about how Jim doesn't react....

Latest answer posted November 10, 2018 10:16 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

A lot of the rooming houses and apartment houses in Manhattan were old and not well maintained. They had originally been private residences for people with big families. Typically they were three...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2015 11:03 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

On the other hand, one could certainly make the argument that these characters are static, meaning that they remain relatively unchanged in any significant way in the story. In the beginning, the...

Latest answer posted August 14, 2016 4:00 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In the short story 'The Gift Of The Magi,' Jim is also trying to do some damage limitation with this quote. It is obvious that the for the moment that the gifts are useless, except in the sense of...

Latest answer posted December 18, 2010 9:14 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The resolution of "The Gift of the Magi" occurs after both Jim and Della reveal that they have sold their own prized possessions to buy expensive Christmas gifts for each other. When they both...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2018 10:15 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The rising action in O. Henry's short story “The Gift of the Maji” would be the two main characters’ efforts to identify and pursue gifts for each other while confronting their obvious financial...

Latest answer posted April 3, 2019 6:29 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is a classic example of situational irony, in which events unfold in a way opposite than expected. Della sells her beloved long hair to buy an expensive watch chain...

Latest answer posted December 17, 2018 1:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The line you have quoted comes just after Della has had to accept the fact that she has been unable to save enough money to buy her husband, Jim, a present worthy of the love that she has for him....

Latest answer posted July 7, 2011 9:40 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry’s story “The Gift of the Magi” is frequently taught as an example of irony. Specifically, it uses situational irony to leave the reader with a surprise ending, which we sometimes call an...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2015 4:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

When O. Henry writes that "Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the 'Sofronie," he is suggesting that this woman is using a false name in order to make herself sound foreign,...

Latest answer posted June 24, 2014 6:42 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Lack of money is the antagonist in "The Gift of the Magi." O'Henry goes to pains to show that Jim and Della are poor, and that Jim, the husband, has recently taken a pay cut. They live in a...

Latest answer posted November 11, 2018 9:50 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

By a strange and deeply ironic combination of events, Jim and Della have ended up giving each other useless gifts for Christmas. Jim has given Della a fancy set of combs for her beautiful hair. The...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2020 11:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

In O. Henry's classic short story "The Gift of the Magi," the fact that the young couple is very poor is absolutely integral to the plot of the narrative. At the beginning of the story, Della is so...

Latest answer posted January 10, 2019 8:26 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi is set before Christmas, with Della wishing to buy a gift for her husband. However, she only has $1.87, far too little to buy a worthwhile gift. As a result, she sells her hair...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2019 9:46 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The Magi (or wise men) are well known as bringers of precious gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—to baby Jesus soon after his birth. This story by O. Henry is a classic tale of love—which is the...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2018 8:25 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In a more conceptual way, Jim and Della's most prized possessions are one another and the love they feel for each other. While love is not a tangible possession, like a watch or one's hair, it is...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2017 1:22 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

In the short story 'The Gift of the Magi' by O Henry, the author is trying to show us the true gift that the couple (and hopefully,most of us) have - each other. Jim seems to be already partly...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2010 8:16 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

I love "The Gift of the Magi" because I find it easy to identify with Jim and Della and their situation. They are deeply in love and desperately want to give a Christmas gift that is representative...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2012 6:50 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Della is afraid of how Jim will react when he sees her without her beautiful long hair. Will he stop loving her? “If Jim doesn't kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at...

Latest answer posted November 2, 2015 10:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

This is a great question! As you can imagine, there will be difference of opinion. However, I think the point of the story is that no one made the bigger sacrifice. In other words, we are not...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2011 5:23 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry was very good at describing interior settings. In "The Gift of the Magi" he presents a fairly thorough description of the furnished flat in which Jim and Della live. However, O. Henry...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2015 1:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The famous visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon in Israel is recorded in the Old Testament in 1 Kings 10. Both the Queen and Solomon were exceedingly rich. The Queen is strongly impressed by...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2016 3:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

The main point of the story "The Gift of the Magi" is the heart behind each of the gifts. Della's hair is one of the things she is most proud of, but in order to demonstrate love for her husband by...

Latest answer posted November 1, 2018 5:41 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

On the day before Christmas, a young married couple, James Dillingham Young (known as Jim) and his wife, Della, have very little money to buy each other gifts. Della has scrimped and saved, but...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2017 12:48 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

The real gift is the love that Jim and Della have for each other. Jim and Della were very poor, but each wanted to surprise the other with a meaningful gift for Christmas. This was because they...

Latest answer posted July 18, 2016 11:39 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

Jim sells his gold watch because he realizes that he cares more about making his wife, Della, happy than he does about keeping his most treasured possession. He knows that his love for her is more...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2018 9:54 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Gift of the Magi

Della is sad because she realizes that she has only a dollar and eighty-seven cents to spend for her husband’s Christmas present. When Della realizes that is all she has, and he next day is...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Gift of the Magi

Della wants to make this Christmas a very special one for Jim, but her savings is a paltry sum of one dollar and eighty-seven cents before the day of Christmas. This is what upsets her at the...

Latest answer posted January 21, 2016 5:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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