The Gift of the Magi Questions and Answers
by O. Henry

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Allusion In The Gift Of The Magi

What are the allusions in "The Gift of the Magi"?

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Writers use allusions within a story to reference something that exists outside the text itself. Allusions can invoke a wide range of subjects: they can draw from history, culture, or other works of literature, to name just a few examples.

Ultimately, I would say the key allusion in "The Gift of the Magi" is the allusion contained in the story's title, an allusion that might actually be carried across its entire structure. In many ways, O. Henry 's short story, set during the Christmas holidays and focused as it is on the subject of gift-giving, seems to have been written in conversation with the Christmas story of the magi and the birth of Christ. His specific choice of title might well have the potential effect of raising those biblical connections in the minds of his readers, connections which might be further reinforced through additional biblical allusions to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Furthermore, the allusion contained within the story's title will later become invoked...

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