The Gift of the Magi: Narritive Essay

1545 Words Nov 22nd, 2012 7 Pages
Theme and Narrative Elements: The Gift of the Magi ENG 125: Introduction to Literature

Theme and Narrative Elements: The Gift of the Magi The Gift of the Magi is a short story that was written by William Sydney Porter, better known by his pseudonym O. Henry in 1906. O. Henry was a prolific author penning many short stories beginning in 1899 until his death in 1910. O. Henry is famous for his trademark surprise endings which he called “snapper” endings (Clugston, 2010) and for his rich use of symbolism and irony. The story The Gift of the Magi follows the story of a young couple who are madly in love but suffering from the inability to provide the “perfect” gift for each other due to a lack of finances. O. Henry’s
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Henry used in “The Gift of the Magi” is love. Many examples where given throughout the story of just how smitten the Young’s where with each other. Even though Jim no longer felt worthy of being called his full name his wife Della would shower her “Jim” with hugs (Clugston, 2010). Della has also spent hours deliberating over finding a gift “being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim” (Henry, 2007). Jim unbeknownst to us, as the story is told as third person limited omniscient, struggles with the same dilemma. The Young’s have exactly two things that they consider to be their prized possessions, an antique watch from Jims family and Della’s luxuriously long hair. The majority of our story centers on Della, with Jim making his appearance closer to the end. The last example of theme is generosity. O. Henry wove the elements of both sensitivity and humility into his characters to convey his message of loves ultimate of generosity. Both Jim and Della gave up the possessions that they loved the most (other than their spouse) to ensure a gift that they felt to be adequate for their spouse. O. Henry did not use any concept or situation other than common ones that affect many of us on a regular basis to express his point. Out of love we give, out of love we receive. O. Henry has chosen to write in a third person limited omniscient style to allow us to experience their lives comically and intimately but not fully, thus adding an

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