The Gift of the Magi Questions and Answers
by O. Henry

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What is the plot diagram for "The Gift of the Magi"?

In a plot diagram of "The Gift of the Magi," the exposition includes the information that Della and Jim are poor, the rising action is Della selling her hair to purchase a watch chain for Jim, the climax is Jim seeing Della's short hair, the falling action is the revelation that Jim sold his watch to purchase combs for Della, and the resolution is the narrator's commentary on how their gifts relate to those given by the magi to Jesus.

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A work of literature can be diagrammed in terms of five elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

The story hinges on being told from Della's point of view. Through her, and particularly her worries about money for a Christmas gift for Jim, we learn how poor the young couple is. This is the exposition (background) that drives the plot. Della has saved and saved but doesn't have anywhere close to enough to buy a nice gift for her beloved husband.

The rising action is her attempt to remedy this problem. She does this by selling her hair, which is quite beautiful and falls to her knees. She is very proud of and attached to her hair. The audience feels what a wrench it must be when she tells the insensitive hairdresser to cut if off so that she can raise the money for Jim's gift.

The climax hinges on irony and comes when the couple realizes that each has sold their most beloved possession to buy a gift for the other that the other now cannot use: Della has sold...

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