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Essay Ideas For The Gift Of The Magi

The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry Essay

1234 Words5 Pages

Stories of love and sacrifice abound in literature. Perhaps one of the most well known stories among teens and adults is the tale of a poor, young couple struggling to find the perfect Christmas gifts for each other using their very limited means. They each manage to get what they think is the perfect gift for the other, but only accomplish this by selling a prized possession which effectively makes the new gifts impractical. This bittersweet narrative, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, illustrates the moral idea that a person, motivated by nothing but love for another, can possess a willingness to give in a self-denying way which necessitates that the reader consider that wealth be measured by something more than having money…show more content…

The Magi most likely came a long distance from Persia and sacrificed much to present their costly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the child. These gifts were esteemed not only because of their intrinsic value, such as the precious metal, gold, but also for their medicinal properties and were traditionally given to a king as a gift of honor. The Magi, also known as wise men or kings, are just that, wise men. They know the value of bringing the gifts to baby Jesus not because He needed gifts, but to show their devotion to Him. They brought these valuable gifts out of respect and love for the new Savior. Love is a defining force for Della and Jim too, overshadowing the poor condition of their finances. Jim and Della do not have much. They would most certainly be considered to be in the lower class, living in a little $8 a week flat in the city and going from a sufficient income of $30 a week to a less than adequate $20 a week with Jim in need of a new overcoat and pair of gloves (Henry). Henry articulates how their love for each other transforms their drab house and surroundings and gray circumstances into a warm and inviting refuge called home. “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all Della had,” not nearly enough to get a gift worthy of her beloved Jim (Henry). She desires nothing but to please him and considers him worthy of something

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The theme for ‘The Gift of the Magi’ is that love is more important than any material item. Della and Jim, the two main characters, demonstrated the theme. This theme also occurs in the ‘real world.’

The theme in this short story has a deep meaning. One way to interpret the theme is that love will last a lifetime, and material gifts will not. Another interpretation is that people will always remember how much they love someone or how much someone loves them, but they will not necessarily remember a certain material gift. Also, many people can give more love than money can buy and it is often valued more.

This theme is demonstrated in this story in numerous ways. ‘Don’t make any mistake Dell; he said about me. I don’t think there is anything in the way of a haircut or shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less.’ (O. Henry p177.) Also, this theme is demonstrated at the end of the story. Della was upset that she did not have a gift for Jim, so she sold what she loved most to show her love for him. She sold her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch, but it was ironic that Jim had sold his watch to buy combs for Della’s hair. They each wanted to give a gift related to each other’s most prized possession and they both were willing to sacrifice their most prized possession. Neither gift was useful at the time but it was a sign of their love.

This theme not only relates to this short story but it relates to life. For example, Mother Theresa gave her love for the world, but she was not rich. She had more to give in the way of love. Another example was a family who adopted many children, regardless of their handicaps, and loved them, which was something that money cannot buy. Finally, there are many people who volunteer their time and show their love is worth more than material things.

In conclusion, the definition of wealth means more than money; it also includes love and happiness. The theme, love is for more important than any material gift, is shown through ‘The Gift of the Magi’ and in everyday life. This is one reason why so many people are wealthy but do not have money. It also indicates that may people have money but are not wealthy.

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