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The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry

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Student Question

What concluding sentence would best support a summary of "The Gift of the Magi," focusing on the author's use of irony in gift giving?

Expert Answers

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Dramatic irony is not always used to make such a pleasant point as it does in the story "The Gift of the Magi," which does in fact use irony to make a point about the meaning of gift giving.  (For example, dramatic irony in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is powerful in a much darker way, ending as it does with the deaths of several young people, Mercutio, Romeo and then finally Juliet)  Magi also makes a point about the unselfish nature of true love--neither James nor Della gives a second thought to ultimately selling their own treasures to purchase gifts for the others.  The story can be enjoyed from both the perspective of being a lovely story that demonstrates the true meaning of Christmas through unselfish giving, and because it demonstrates the skillful use of dramatic irony to create a powerful ending.

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