What would be the direct and indirect characterization in "The Gift of the Magi"?

In "The Gift of the Magi," O. Henry utilizes both direct and indirect characterization. An example of direct characterization can be found when O. Henry describes the importance of Jim's watch and Della's hair. The narrative states to the reader that these are their most precious possessions. Meanwhile, indirect characterization can be found in each partner's decision to sacrifice their own most treasured possession to purchase a gift for the other, thus establishing the selflessness of their relationship.

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In "The Gift of the Magi," O. Henry utilizes both direct and indirect characterization to depict the lives and marriage of Della and Jim, as well as the nature of the relationship that they share. In cases of direct characterization, the narrative itself describes the traits and qualities of a character in question. On the other hand, in indirect characteriation, these traits are revealed through action within the story and must be inferred indirectly by the reader. In O. Henry's celebrated short story, one sees the degree to which the two can go hand in hand, with indirect description even building off of those traits and qualities already established through the more direct method of characterization.

A powerful example of this can be found in how O. Henry depicts and establishes the act of self sacrifice both Della and Jim make for one another. First, through his use of direct characterization, O. Henry establishes the degree to which both partners treasure their hair and watch...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 986 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 13, 2020