In O. Henry
's short story "The Gift of the Magi
," Della Dillingham Young is depicted as a selfless, loving wife, who sacrifices her most prized possession to purchase her husband a valuable platinum fob chain for his expensive gold watch. Della's most prized possession is her long, beautiful hair, which is flowing and reaches below her knees. Della understands that selling her long hair is the only way that she can acquire enough money to buy Jim a worthy Christmas present and proceeds to sacrifice her hair when she visits Madame Sofronie's salon. Once Della arrives at Madame Sofronie's salon, she is in a hurry to have her hair cut and shows no remorse for her decision.
After Della sells her hair for twenty dollars, O. Henry uses a metaphor when he writes that the next two hours "tripped by on rosy wings." This change from the dark, heavy narration to "rosy" tones depicts Della's emotional transformation into a carefree woman who radiates with joy. Della's pleasant, joyful demeanor contributes to her characterization and emphasizes her desire to make Jim happy. Della's willingness to sacrifice her most prized possession and her positive reaction to losing her hair reveals that she is a grateful, benevolent wife, who genuinely loves and cherishes Jim. Della's actions also reveal that she has a strong relationship with Jim, and their sacrifices prove that they both love each other unconditionally.