The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

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What is the climax of the story "The Gift of the Magi"?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is Della's story and is told entirely from her point of view. She has a problem. She wants to buy her husband a nice Christmas present but she has only managed to save a dollar and eighty-seven cents. So she impulsively decides to sell her hair, without taking time to give the consequences any thought. After she sells her hair for twenty dollars she buys Jim an expensive watch-fob. But then she has a new problem. She is afraid her husband won't love her any more when he sees how she looks. (Naturally the tough woman who bought Della''s hair took as much as she could without actually scalping the poor girl.) So the story is all about how much Della wants Jim's love. She sacrificed her hair to give him a present that would make him love her, but now she is afraid her sacrifice will have just the opposite effect. When Jim sees her he looks shocked. Della is terrified. The reader thinks Jim is really going to lose his affection for his young wife because she has lost her most beautiful feature. But instead he assures her that nothing could make him love her any less than he does. And to prove how much he loves her, he gives her the beautiful set of combs and explains that he had sold his treasured pocket-watch to raise the money for her Christmas present. This is the climax of the story. Afterwards, O. Henry does some philosophizing about love and Christmas and the Magi, but this is all anticlimactic. This is O. Henry's most famous story. It has one of his trademark surprise endings, but it leaves the reader with a genuine feeling of sympathy and affection for these two young people who were so poor and yet so rich because they had such love for each other. 

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M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The interesting fact about the climax of "The Gift of the Magi " is that it is part of two...

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ritu-25 | Student

Della sells her hair in order to buy a gift for Jim.On the other hand Jim buys combs for Della's beautiful hair thinking that she would be impressed. But on returning home he finds Della in her new look...I think thats the climax.... 

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tenzaisakuragi | Student

i think the climax is the oart when della sell her hair. because my teacher said that the climax in a shor story is the part that would make you think about the next part or like "what will happen next? will she... will he..." that's only for me..teehee

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ike13 | Student

The climax is when they open their gifts(which no longer have any use).

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