Unformatted text preview: Kennedy Wilson Wilson 1 Mrs. Anderson
Honors English I
07 Nov 2016
“Gift of the Magi”
Literary Response Outline
In his short story, “The Gift of the Magi”, O. Henry develops theme through imagery and
tone to illustrate that being generous will not only bring personal happiness, but it will bring
happiness to others too.
II. First Controlling Idea
In developing theme through imagery in his short story, “The Gift of the Magi”, O. Henry
uses sensory language to help the reader create an emphasised picture in their mind about how
and what the characters are feeling and doing. The main theme in “The Gift of the Magi” is love
and generosity. O. Henry uses sensory phrases such as “Pennies saved one and two at a time”
and “...until one’s cheeks burned” to illustrate how the characters want to spread love during the
Christmas season by giving each other gifts, where in the end, both Jim and Della give the gift of
sacrifice. “Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man
and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close
dealing implied” (O. Henry 261). Wilson 2
III. Second Controlling Idea
O. Henry also develops theme through the use of tone in his story, “The Gift of the
Magi”, by using a season of joy and charity to create a peaceful and loving tone, in which the
main characters, Jim and Della, want to make each other happy by getting the other a present,
even if the presents are just small, trivial presents. Through tone, the theme of love is also
emphasised by the words O. Henry uses to describe his attitude towards the story, which leads to
the characters creating a theme of love through such words as, “presents”, “our”, and “too nice”.
“‘...let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use just as a
present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the
chops on’” (O. Henry 266).
IV. Restate Thesis
To conclude, in his short story, “The Gift of the Magi”, O. Henry develops theme through
imagery and tone to illustrate that being generous will not only bring personal happiness, but it
will bring happiness to others too. Wilson 3
V. Works Cited
O, Henry. Gift of the Magi and Other Stories. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2008.
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