Selfless Love, the Gift of the Magi Analysis

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The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a story about selfless love between a young married couple, Della and Jim. Della wants to buy Jim a Christmas present but only has a dollar and eighty-seven cents, so she decides to sell her beautiful hair to buy a fob for Jim’s pocket watch. When Jim comes home, he gives Della a gift of tortoise shell hair combs, but she has already cut her hair to buy the fob. Jim had sold his pocket watch to buy the combs. This story shows the true meaning of selfless love, as both Della and Jim gave up their most valuable possessions to ensure the happiness of their spouse. The story is told from the third-person omniscient point of view, and its message of selflessness has made it a timeless classic.

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“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry is a timeless tale that showcases selfless love.

Della Young, a wife in this story, has diligently saved every penny she can to purchase a unique Christmas gift for her husband Jim. Regrettably, the sum she has managed to gather amounts to merely one dollar and eighty-seven cents – an amount she perceives as inadequate. Despite her awareness that her hair is considered her most prized attribute, which Jim admires greatly, Della resolves to sell it so that she may acquire funds for her husband’s present.

Della visits a shop to sell her hair for twenty dollars, which she uses to purchase a fob for Jim’s pocket watch. Jim is taken aback by Della’s new appearance when he returns home. Initially, she fears that he is unhappy with her shorter hair, but then Jim presents Della with her present.

She has purchased beautiful tortoise shell hair combs. In response, she explains that her hair will grow back and gives Jim the fob for his watch. Upon seeing the gift that Della has exchanged her hair for, Jim hesitates to reveal that he cannot make use of it because he had to sell his pocket watch to buy her the combs. This story exemplifies the genuine nature of selfless love.

The Gift of the Magi is narrated from a third-person omniscient perspective as it tells the story of a young married couple who selflessly focus on each other’s happiness while selecting the perfect gift. Della even considers shaving off her hair, solely concerned with Jim’s opinion. Both of them make sacrifices by giving up their most valuable possessions to ensure their spouse’s joy.

Due to this aspect, the reader is only aware of Della’s thoughts and actions while having no knowledge of Jim’s similar difficulties. Over time, the story has been retold numerous times and will continue to endure. It proves challenging to encounter narratives that depict genuine, altruistic love like this, which is why it remains a prominent feature in literature.

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Selfless Love, the Gift of the Magi Analysis. (2017, May 11). Retrieved from

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