reaction, she fears that he is going to love her less because her hair is now so very short that she looks “like a truant schoolboy” (in Clugston, 2010). However, Jim assures her that this is not the reason why he looks so shocked and says “I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first” (in Clugston, 2010). What Della finally realizes is that Jim, in the same vein as Della, has sold his most valuable possession, his watch, in order to buy her something nice for Christmas which ends up being a set of tortoise combs that Della had been admiring for a long time. In their selfless love for one another, both Jim and Della sell the things that are most precious to them in order to make the other person happy. Along with using characterization to promote this theme, O. Henry as uses symbolism and allusion to promote this theme. Jim’s watch and Della’s hair are obviously symbols of those things material which, as much as we treasure them, cannot truly make us happy. Additionally, however, the author uses a biblical allusion to the three wise men to promote this theme, hence the title of the story “The Gift of the Magi.” The magi were the three wise men who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Christ the day of his birth. Of Jim, Della, and the magi, O. Henry says “The magi . . . brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the
The Gift 4 art of giving Christmas presents. . . And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful
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