Irony In The Gift Of The Magi By O. Henry

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There are a variety of techniques authors use to develop their work, one of which are literary devices. Literary devices are a powerful tool in the world of literature. They can be used to show emotion, aid in character development, or develop theme. Literary devices can even be the factor that differentiates an amazing piece of writing from an okay piece of writing. Throughout history, authors have used literary devices to improve their skill and develop their work. An example of this is the use of irony in stories. Authors use irony in order to make the reader think. Irony can help to illustrate a point in a more effective way rather than just saying the point. Whether it be verbal, situational, or dramatic, irony will always give the reader …show more content…
Henry, portrays how sacrificing a prized possession of yours is worth it for the one you love. To enumerate, “The Gift of the Magi” is a story about a young couple who sells their treasured belongings in order to afford a nice Christmas gift for each other. This couple, James and Della Young, are both underprivileged people who do not make very much money. However, they both wanted to spoil each other with an expensive gift for Christmas that the other person would love. This is where the irony sets in. Della, only having $1.87 to spend on her gift to Jim, is clearly dismayed about the situation. However, she comes up with a solution to her problem – Cutting off her hair and selling it. Apprehensive about it at first, Della finally caves in and sells her hair because she cannot wait to see the smile on Jim’s face when he receives his Christmas present – A platinum fob chain for his watch. When Della comes home Christmas eve and tells Jim what she has done to be able to afford his fob chain, he stands there speechless because at that moment he gets the irony of the whole situation himself. So, Jim handed his gift to Della, which was a brand new set of expensive combs. How could Jim afford his gift to Della, you may ask? By selling his watch! In short, Della cut off her hair and sold it to buy a fob chain for Jim’s watch, meanwhile Jim sold his watch to buy combs for Della’s hair. This is an example of situational irony because the …show more content…
As well as that, authors tend to view irony as an effective way to develop the theme in many different stories. An example of how effective the use of irony can be is shown in the short stories “Barney”, by Will Stanton, and “The Gift of the Magi”, by O. Henry. In “Barney”, irony is used to develop theme by accentuating the unintended circumstances that technology can cause. On the other hand, irony develops the theme of “The Gift of the Magi” by portraying how people can sacrifice their belongings in order to please their true love. Both of these short stories get their messages across more significantly by the use of irony, exhibiting just how much irony can contribute to the quality of literature. Therefore, irony is an important and popular literary device that authors use. This is because it greatly improves the concepts of a story and provides more meaning and effectiveness to the

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