Why does the author call Jim and Della the magi? Is the description justified?

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The Magi are also known as "the Wise men". As far as O Henry, he used the play on words by calling them "foolish" at the beginning because of their youth, their seeming immaturity, and their situation.

However, it makes all the most sense at the end to understand how...

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The Magi are also known as "the Wise men". As far as O Henry, he used the play on words by calling them "foolish" at the beginning because of their youth, their seeming immaturity, and their situation.

However, it makes all the most sense at the end to understand how these three qualities are precisely what makes them so wise as far as love, commitment, and sacrifice. These latter are three characteristics that many people lack, and yet, they not only have them, but took them to the utmost for each other. This is how Jim and Della are magi (wise).

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Think about how these gifts were given: each sacrificed his or her most precious possession in order to obtain the gift the other would cherish the most. The Magi have been described variously throughout biblical and secular history, but most descriptions include some reference to their "priestliness." The acts that Jim and Della perform become sorts of rituals, in that the gifts have a symbolic meaning, possibly of a greater love.

Reread the ending a couple of times, and see if you can come up with your own response based on your emotional reaction to what happened, and how the characters themselved dealt with it. Did they become angry or resentful? No. They understood, and went on with their lives with the understanding that the benefits of the gifts would come later, as in the original Christmas story.

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