Why does the writer call Della and Jim foolish and wise at the same time in "The Gift of the Magi"?

In "The Gift of the Magi," the writer calls Della and Jim foolish and wise at the same time because while they have both sold their most valuable possessions to buy each other gifts which prove useless, they have shown their immense love for each other.

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The writer calls Della and Jim foolish and wise at the same time in “The Gift of the Magi” because, although they were foolish in giving each other useless gifts, they were also motivated by love, which shows them to be wise.

In that sense, they both understand the true meaning of Christmas, just like the Magi, or three wise men who traveled to Bethlehem to bestow gifts upon the baby Jesus. Many people at the time probably thought that they were being foolish in giving gifts that were functionally useless for the recipient.

Della buys Jim a gold chain to go with his watch. But without any money, she can only buy the gift by selling off some of her beautiful locks of hair.

Meanwhile, Jim sells his watch to buy Della a set of fancy combs for the beautiful hair she's just sold. So both Jim and Della have ended up giving each other useless gifts. It is in that sense that they are foolish.

And yet, they are also wise, because they understand that the true worth of a gift lies in the thought...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 835 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 8, 2020