The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

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What is the theme of the story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry?

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The most prominent theme in “The Gift of the Magi” is love. Jim and Della are willing to part with their most prized possessions to make each other happy, demonstrating that a wealth of love makes up for material poverty. Some additional themes are generosity, selflessness, and poverty.


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In "The Gift of the Magi," O. Henry frames love through a lens of self-sacrifice. Both Della and Jim give up their own dearest possession in order to purchase a gift for the other. In doing so, O. Henry determines that the spirit in which these gifts were given proves far more powerful and profound than the content of the gifts themselves.

As the story begins, Della is wanting to purchase a Christmas present for her husband. The problem, however, is that they are poor, and she does not have enough money to purchase a gift. As O. Henry proceeds to tell us, both Della and Jim have possessions which...

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kingfamily7122 | Student

The theme of this story is the true meaning of love is selflessness. Each person gave up something that he/she treasured in order to make the other happy.

suprabhatdas | Student

In this short story, O.Henry focuses mainly on three great themes - those of poverty, generosity, and most important of all - love. In this writing, whose title is an allusion to the gift of the three wise men to Jesus when he was born, the author clearly shows the value of personal affection and the true meaning of giving gifts. In short, the main idea is that the best gift is that which is most sincere and comes from the bottom of the heart instead of an extravagant, lavish possession that would bring nothing to the warmth of the human relationship. The author's idea is especially emphasized when both of the main characters discover that what they had received would not be of any use to them. In this way, the gifts that the two loving spouses give each other become symbols of the passionate love that they feel for each other and that will never be extinguished by their poverty. That is, what is material and indeed lacking in their world steps even farther back to let the reader understand that those two souls have given and received the wisest and most precious gift - that of human emotion and affection. 

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O. Henry was the pen name for William Sydney Porter the prolific writer of nearly 300 short stories. Among his short stories, The Gift of the Magi is possibly the most well-known. Its enduring appeal can be traced to the universal themes of wealth, poverty, and generosity wrapped together by the selfless love of the two main characters, Jim and Della Young.

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iqratariq | Student

the theme of "the gift of magi" is sacrifice. both the characters sacrifice their precious things for one another. they love one another more than materialistics things though they are expensive. they sell those things(watch and hair) to show their love and so find out the true love that is not in things or gifts but the feeling they have for each other. so the themes are sacrifice and eternal love.

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sweetrinky | Student

the theme of the story "the gift of magi" is that the greatest gift we can recieve is not any material but a feeling that is the "gift of love". it teaches us the bondge of unconditional love where we dont look at our posessions but are ready to sacrifice for our loved ones..della sells her beautiful hair in order to gift jim and jim sells his gold watch to gift della the beautiful set of combs but when they find their gifts to turn useless. they rejoice in their own estate  and this proves their true love for each other. we also find the story revolving around wealth and poverty

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