In "The Gift of the Magi," why does Della flop down on the couch and howl?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Della flopped on the couch and howled in grief and frustration after counting the money she had available to purchase a Christmas present for Jim. She had been saving money for the purchase through painful and, at times, embarrassing begging and bartering down the cost of every purchase, endeavoring to keep every cent she possibly could "by
bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned." In spite of her best efforts, however, Della had been able to save only $1.87, not nearly enough to buy any present that would begin to appropriately convey the depth of her love for Jim.