believing even this may be a convenience costing them more than they can afford to give. Della speaks of saving pennies by “bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher (cited in Clugston, 2010, “The Gift of the Magi”, para 1)”. Della is very willing to make these sacrifices for Jim for she wishes nothing more than to purchase a gift she feels is worthy of his ownership. Yet despite all of the sacrifices to the contrary, she falls short and can do nothing but sob at her perceived fate. Living under the conditions of poverty, self sacrifice quickly becomes
“THE GIFT OF THE MAGI” 4 a way of life. There are no room for luxurys and sometimes even no room for the necessaties some of us take for granted. The literary element of symbolism is represented by the beautiful combs bought for Della’s hair and Jim’s gold watch. Symbolism is a literary element allowing the author to be freer in his writing. Symbolism gives a writer the ability to use words which carry meanings other than their literal dictionary meanings in a work. The combs purchased for Della’s hair represent beauty, wealth, society, and class. Being impoverished, Jim and Della were classified as none of these. Though Della’s hair may have made her beautiful, without the proper clothing or jewelry she would go unnoticed. The combs Jim sacrificed to purchase for her meant upon wearing them his Della would be seen by society as he himself sees her; as a lady of class and sophistication. Jim’s gold watch was an inheritance passed from his grandfather to his father and down to him symbolizing the sacredness of time with loved ones and how quickly it passes. This time piece meant more to him than anything he owned and yet to see a smile on his wife’s face Jim was willing to give up his most cherished possession knowing time is a precious gift in and of itself. “For Della and Jim, even though they were truly poor, there were two things of them in their family, which could be two mighty prides; Della's hair and Jim's gold watch [ CITATION Lin10 \l 1033 ]”.
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