What toll did the effort to find Jim's present take on Della's physical and mental health?
Della's love for Jim knew no bounds. She worked hard at finding ways to save a few pennies whenever she could by
bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.
Her emotional and mental commitment to finding an appropriate gift for Jim drove her to make what was a supreme sacrifice for Della, selling her luxuriant, beautiful brown hair for funds adequate to purchase a present worthy of being given to Jim.
While she had no regrets about cutting her hair for that purpose, Della did have to deal with anxiety in anticipation of how Jim would react to the short curls replacing her long locks.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But waht could I do-Oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?"
In the end, as is often the case in real life, the tension and apprehension caused by the stress of the crisis is resolved happily. Della's fear is groundless, and Jim's love for her stands unchanged, regardless of the length of her hair.