Lather Or Nothing Else Analysis

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Usually in literature, an author uses an object that can be a symbol that conveys an important meaning. In “Lather or Nothing Else” and “The Gift of the Magi,” Tellez and O’Henry use symbols to express a deeper significance. Using the fob and combs that Della and Jim both give each other for Christmas, O’Henry demonstrates that love is truly what gift giving is about in “The Gift of the Magi.” The very sharp razor that the barber possesses in “Lather or Nothing Else” represents the choice the barber has to make. Both of these symbols play an extremely important role in the lives of all of the main characters throughout both of the short stories. Since the fob and combs each given by Della and Jim represents happiness and the barber’s razor …show more content…
Because Della and Jim are in a state of poverty and only have two prized possessions, which are Della’s long hair and Jim’s gold watch passed down to him by his father, they each sell their valuables to buy combs and a fob for their other valued treasure. Later on, they realize that the gifts aren’t what really matter, it’s how they love and sacrifice for each other. As Della was explaining to Jim how she sold her hair to buy his fob, she said, “Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered, but nobody could ever count my love for you. (4)” When Della sells her hair to give Jim a gift, she acknowledges that love is truly what gift-giving is all about. While Jim realizes the irony about the gifts him and Della give each other, he tells Della, “Dell, let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. (5)” Not only does Della sell her treasured hair to buy an accessory for Jim’s watch, Jim sold his watch to buy an accessory for her hair. Jim recognizes that love is stronger than the gift itself, and believes that they don’t really need the gifts. When the author gives his view about the gifts that Della and Jim give each other, he states, “But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest….They are the magi. (5)” O’Henry believes selling the watch and the hair may be absurd, but Della and Jim are still wise because of how they still love and sacrifice for each other. Not only is symbolism conveyed in “The Gift of the Magi,” which are the gifts Della and Jim exhange that demonstrates love, it can also be found in “Lather or Nothing

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