The Young’s are a very poor couple living in New York City. James and Della Young are both scrambling to get the other something for Christmas but, neither have enough money. Even though both of the Young’s decide to give up what is most precious to them for the other, both do it out of selfless love for one another. The young couple both lose in the end what is most precious to them. However, both do receive the ultimate gift from each other and that is the gift of unselfish love which is worth more than any physical object. The title “The Gift of the Magi” completes the true meaning of the story by comparing this unique gift of love the Young’s have with the love that Christ had for his people. The multiple themes of O. Henry’s story “The Gift of the Magi” are crucial to the reader’s understanding of the decisions made by the two main characters. The three main themes of generosity, love, and poverty ties the story together to show the reader what the best gift of all truly is.
The reader can infer that this story takes place in the early 1900s. This can mainly be inferred because in the 1900s wigs were made out of real hair, men carried watches in their pockets, language was spoken similarly to the language in the story, and the scenery depicted was also similar to that of the early 1900s. Therefore, around this time the Great Depression was also on the rise. The roles of women in the early 1900s were simple; they were to cook for the family and clean the house or be servants for other households. Men, on the other hand, worked outside the home (“The Gift of the Magi”). Della Young, the wife works part time, and she only makes about $20 a week. For se...
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... children that are not wise but then calls them wise out of all who give and receive gifts, they are the real magi’s (Henry 6). Magi’s were the wise men that came to see baby Jesus bearing gifts for him.
Despite the gifts that Della and Jim received for Christmas that are now useless, they have given each other the best gift of all. (“The Gift of the Magi”). That gift was the gift of unselfish love both shared with each other on Christmas. Selfless love is the ultimate gift, and Henry was mainly trying to show the reader it is better than any physical thing a person can give. Henry uses this Christian allusion to reinforce the value of sacrifice and love. Throughout the story the Young’s showed great characteristics of love and generosity. Henry completes the story by tying those characteristics into the story and adding poverty to the story as well.
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