What are the two main forms of conflict in "The Gift of the Magi"?

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jlbornstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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The first type of conflict is internal and it is Man vs. Self when Della decides to sell her hair for money to buy the Christmas present, however has a moment's hesitation due to her own selfishness.  "So Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters.  It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her.  And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet." (Elements of Literature, 289).

The second type of internal, Man vs. Self is when Della returns home and regrets her choice of cutting her hair. "Please God, make him think I am still pretty." (Elements of Literature, 290).  This brief burst of vanity shows that she is insecure of her selfless decision.   


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