What details of character and setting has O. Henry included to show the conflict and the characters' reactions to this conflict in "The Gift of the Magi"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Della and Jim Dillingham have fallen upon hard times and their clothes and their flat reveal some of their hardships.

In the exposition of O. Henry's story, Della counts out her money which falls short of what she needs for a Christmas present for her husband.

  • Disappointed, Della drops...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Della and Jim Dillingham have fallen upon hard times and their clothes and their flat reveal some of their hardships.

In the exposition of O. Henry's story, Della counts out her money which falls short of what she needs for a Christmas present for her husband.

  • Disappointed, Della drops onto the "shabby little couch" and cries. 
  • The flat looks as though it is ready for the "mendicancy squad," a police squad that picked up beggars.
  • The vestibule contains a bell that does not work
  • The name "Dillingham" looks blurred above the mailbox
  • There is in the Dillingham's flat on the floor a "worn red carpet"
  • Della wears an "old brown jacket" and an "old brown hat" when she goes out to sell her hair in order to buy a watch fob for Jim.
  • Jim needs a new overcoat and a pair of gloves when he arrives home
  • Della sells her beautiful, long hair so that she can buy Jim a Christmas present, a gold watch fob
  • Jim sells his handsome watch in order to buy Della combs for her beautiful hair 
  • When they discover that the other has sold his or her most important possession, they are awe stricken, but soon reconcile and love each other even more.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team