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O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" might be the many famous brief story of every time. It's certainly the most famed of O. Henry's, standing out amongst many stories v surprise endings, favor "The last Leaf" and "After Twenty Years".

Its not-to-be-missed ending has made the a favourite of many readers. If friend haven't review the story yet, or don't recognize the ending, please don't damn it for yourself. At around 2,100 words, it provides a big payoff for a small time investment.


This short article contains:

a summary,a look at themes,Biblical alllusions, andthe an interpretation of the title.

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Summary of "The Gift that the Magi"

Della's scrimping has permitted her to conserve one dollar and eighty-seven cents. Tomorrow is Christmas. She flops onto her shabby couch and cries.

She stays in a furnished level at a rental of eight dollars a week. The mailbox and also doorbell are broken. Her husband, Jim, provides $20 a week.


Della powders she cheeks after her cry and then looks the end the window. She had been planning on acquiring Jim a pretty Christmas present, something worthy of him.


Suddenly, Della moves from the home window to the mirror. She lets her lengthy hair down. It's among the couple's two prized possessions, the various other one gift Jim's heirloom watch. Her hair falls listed below her knees. She quickly puts it increase again and pauses as a tear falls.

She put on her old coat and hat, and also hurries down to the street. She get a hair products shop and also enters. She asks the owner if she will certainly buy her hair. They with an agreement for $20.


After two hrs of careful searching through the stores, Della find the perfect gift—a platinum fob chain. The suits Jim and also his exquisite clock exactly. It has actually an unadorned simplicity and quality. She pays $21 because that it.

When she gets home, Della takes out her curling irons and does she hair as nicely as she can. She look at at it s her critically and also wonders how Jim will certainly react to the change.

At 7 PM, Della has actually coffee ready and also is ready to do supper. She waits by the door through the fob chain in she hand. She wishes Jim will certainly still think she's pretty.

Jim beginning looking serious. His rigid is fixed on Della. He has a strange expression the she can't interpret. She's afraid. She goes to him and explains herself. Jim battles to understand that she's cut her hair and also that it's gone.


Eventually, he breaks out the his stupor and also hugs Della. That takes a package indigenous his coat and puts that on the table. That assures her the her haircut won't impact his feelings because that her. He states if she unwraps she gift, she will recognize why he to be so out of that earlier.

Della excitedly opens the package, screams v joy, and also then cries hysterically. It's a beautiful collection of expensive combs the she had actually looked in ~ longingly in a shop window. She holds them and also tells Jim her hair grow fast.


Realizing Jim hasn't checked out his present yet, she hands it come him. She asks for his watch so they deserve to see exactly how it looks.

Jim sit on the couch instead and says they must put your presents away for a while. He sold his clock to buy the combs.

The narrator ends by comparing their presents to the gifts of the wise males to the Babe in the manger.

Theme: Unselfish Love

The overwhelming feeling from the story, intensified by the surprise ending, is the the young couple's unselfish love for each other.

This is introduced automatically when we're told that Della had been conserving for months for Jim's gift. Her desire was solid enough to press through the embarrassment of shaving a penny or 2 off she vegetable and also butcher's bills.

Knowing she doesn't have sufficient to obtain a nice current for Jim makes Della cry. She wants something "fine and also rare and sterling—something simply a little bit close to to gift worthy the the respect of being owned through Jim." Clearly, she holds her husband in high esteem and also wants to express her love come him.

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Della lacks fine material things. She hair is her prized possession, therefore it's a significant sacrifice to offer it up. We observed how challenging it was for her when, before leaving she flat, she "faltered for a minute and also stood tho while a tear or two" fell to the carpet. Her worry is twofold—she'll be losing her prized possession, and she doesn't understand if Jim will choose the change.