What is the conflict in "The Gift of the Magi"?  

Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe the main conflict is O. Henry's famous story has to do with lack of money. The fact that Christmas is fast approaching makes the conflict more pressing. Christmas is a "ticking clock"--a time factor that magnifies a conflict in any story. Both Jim and Della have their separate conflicts but they are both closely related. Jim wants to buy Della a Christmas present because he loves her, but he has no money. Della wants to buy Jim a Christmas present because she loves him, but she has no money either. Both sacrifice prized possessions in order to obtain money for the presents, but, ironically, both find that they have made mistakes. This, however, is not serious, since their sacrifices only prove their love for each other. It is a touching Christmas story. Della's hair will grow back and Jim will be able to redeem his watch from the pawn shop.

naveendevinda | Student

Della and jim are young couple who live in a superstited flat. but their poverty has not been a barrier to their life.Dellla sells her long brown hair to buy Jim a valuable present for christmas while Jim does the same by selling his wristwatch. Both of them buy the presents individually. Jim buys a set of combs for della's hair while della buys a fob chain for Jim's watch. when both of them exchange their gifts they see that they are of no longer value. this is the conflict of the story