The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

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What is the symbolism in "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In addition to the gifts themselves being symbolic, Jim and Della are also symbolic.  The title helps us understand the parallel between Jim and Della and the wise men from the story of Jesus's birth.  Just as the original magi brought gifts to Jesus (literally the first Christmas gifts), this young couple gives each other gifts too.  But there is a big difference between the original magi and Jim and Della: the original wise men were kings who did not have to make sacrifices in order to bring rich and precious gifts to the Christ child.  Jim and Della, however, are quite poor and must...

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haya21 | Student

how "symbolism" apply on O.Henry short stories?

christian-tracy | Student

The symbolism in "The Gift of the Magi" is based upon the gifts given by Jim and Della. Both Jim and Della gave up a possession the forfieted the importance of the gift they would receive from their spouse. The gifts showing the importance of giving everything of themselves. The key note in the story is that both Jim and Della do not focus on what they have lost, but instead are touched (as the reader is) by the gifts that they have received.

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