What characteristics do Delia and Jim Young have in "The Gift of the Magi"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Delia and Jim share similar characteristics, they are both loving and giving people.  Each is concerned with giving the other a special gift for Christmas.  

Jim wants to make his wife happy by giving her a gift that will really please her, and Delia wants to make her husband feel really special, so each makes a great sacrifice for the other. 

Their shared characteristics include:

"Quietness and value—the description applied to both."

"Delia again shows unselfishness, courage, and resilience." 

"He works hard, not returning home until seven o'clock, and is reliable"

"Jim reacts with gentle humor and the same kind of resilience Delia has shown."

suman1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It should also be noted that the one characteristic that unites both of them is the understanding of the true value of love. Jim and Della symbolise O. Henry’s vision of true love which crosses the boundary of materialism and enters a much larger locale where everything needs to be judged in terms of its aesthetic value. In the final section of the story O. Henry says: “everywhere they are wisest”, where the word “wisest” denotes that these two characters understand the true value of love not by the material value of the gifts which they receive, but by the aesthetic value of them. Materialistically the gifts will be valueless to both of them, but in terms of the representation of the value of love, the gifts would remain invaluable.

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The Gift of the Magi

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