1 The Gift of the The Gift of the Magi Theme and Narrative Essay Lorrie Byers Introduction to Literature-ENG 125 Kim Hunt October 23, 2011
2 The Gift of the The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry written in 1906 is a tale of love and giving between a wife and husband who do not have the financial means to purchase each other gifts at Christmas time. The couple sacrifices the two items they each have, which although not expensive, bring them the most joy. O. Henry’s usage of symbolism, setting, and irony will be discussed in the following theme and narrative elements in this short story essay. O. Henry utilizes symbolism and allusion connected to the number three throughout The Gift of the Magi. The first indication of this is found in the story’s title. The Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh when Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem (Corley, 2009). The Magi gave these gifts freely and unselfishly to Jesus believing he was the “Promised One.” Another example of the symbolism of the number three in the story is the narrator’s description of the envy the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon would feel if they saw Della’s hair and Jim’s watch (Clugston, 2010).
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- Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Della, Biblical Magi