Topics for Further Study
Compare the typical living and working conditions in New York in the early 1900s with today. What does a "normal" working person make per week today in New York City, and what would his or her rent be? How much did food and clothing cost at the time "The Gift of the Magi'' takes place?
Where, exactly, in New York did O. Henry live? Research what his life was like when he lived there.
Find the places in the Bible that O. Henry alludes to in "The Gift of the Magi." Also, do some historical research on King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and the magi. What do these references bring to the story?