The Gift of the Magi

Analysis of The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi is O. Henry’s short story written in 1905. Henry is a famous writer for his short stories. In this story, Henry tells the experiences of the young couples getting Christmas gifts for each other. This couple has some financial problems receiving gifts for each other. They give up two valuable things for them for the sake of buying Christmas gifts. Jim sells his souvenir gold watch from his father and Della sells his long and beautiful hair. They sell them for the sake of their love and buy gifts for each other. The story focuses on the power of love and thoughtfulness. I think that love is the supreme power and material things cannot replace love. 

One of my reactions to the story was the couple’s deep love for each other. As mentioned at the beginning of the story, the financial situation of the couple was not good enough. They sacrificed their precious things to buy special Christmas gifts for each other. For them, spiritual things and their love are more important than material things. I realized that their willingness and efforts to get gifts show that love is above all else and unbreakable by material things. In my opinion, according to the theme of the story, spirituality can get ahead of materiality if people want it. 

I have also found that the value of giving the gift is hidden in the gift-giver. Jim and Della bought gifts by thinking of each other. They sacrificed their special belongings because they thought of each other. Therefore, the value of the gifts is hidden in Jim and Della. Additionally, I realized that their efforts to buy gifts for each other and the sadness they experienced at that moment also reflect the importance and value that they give to each other. I agree with the author’s opinion about their giving gifts.

I think that the characters are very emotional and warm-hearted. Della’s crying in the room, her lack of distraction in front of the window, and her inner speech are examples of Della’s characteristics. Her efforts to convince herself and Jim about her hair show her lack of confidence and fear. According to her explanations, Jim is a pure and worthy man, and the watch chain she bought for him looks like Jim. Besides, I observed that Jim has a realistic way of thinking. After learning that the gifts had been useless at the moment, he was more realistic rather than upset and regretful. Both characters are thoughtful, emotional, and full of love. The other character is Madame Sofronie who Della sold her hair for 20 dollars.

I see that Henry wrote this story as if he was telling it in daily life. In some parts of the story, he skipped the points that seemed unimportant to the readers. I think that the reason for his doing this was because he did not want to make this short story longer or he wanted to create an original story. Moreover, I think that the writer reflected the power of the feelings throughout the story. I felt the intensity of the feelings and emotions of Della and Jim while reading the story. Henry revealed Della’s crying and Jim’s unresponsiveness.

In a nutshell, the whole story is about the true love of Della and Jim for each other. Feelings like love are superior to material and temporary things. Earthly things such as Della’s hair that will grow over time or Jim’s watch that can be bought with money should not be a barrier against feelings. Jim’s and Della’s efforts to make the gifts special for each other are very pleasant. I also agree with the writer’s view about the wise people who care about gifts. We must give up some things to make the gift valuable.