possessions”; for this is the reason why O’Henry labels them as foolish. They foolishly sacrifice the thing that means the most to them for each other which helps the reader conclude that not all sacrifices for love are wise. The symbolism of the magi show how Jim and Della are foolish, but very wise. In the last paragraph of the story, the author explains that the magi represent the three wise men in the Bible. As most know, the three wise men gave gifts to the baby Jesus thus creating the phenomenon of giving gifts during Christmas. He then compares the three wise men to Jim and Della and writes, “But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest…They are the magi” (O’Henry 179). Anyone giving up their most valuable possession to in return get a gift for that item is foolish, but it is especially foolish when people who already do not have much because of their financial situation like Jim and Della give up what is most precious to them. Not only are they the wisest, but the gifts Jim and Della both gave one another is the best gift of all. Rogers writes in her critical essay, “The joy and sustaining power of self-sacrificial love is the greatest gift of all, and that, ultimately, is the gift these two share.” Though they physically use the gifts they both received, they can both enjoy the gift of sacrifice. The author reveals the theme using irony through the events and actions of Jim and Della and through the symbolism of the magi.
Bushart 3 Works Cited O’Henry. “The Gift of the Magi.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing, edited by X J Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Pearson pp. 175-181. Rogers, Kim Dickson. "The Gift of the Magi." Masterplots, Fourth Edition, edited by Laurence W. Mazzeno, Salem, 2010. Salem Online. Accessed 27 Feb. 2018. Werlock, Abby H. P. “"The Gift of the Magi"” Encyclopedia of the American Short Story, 2- Volume Set, Third Edition , Facts On File, 2013. Bloom's Literature , online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=106923&itemid=WE54&articleId=9049. Accessed 27 Feb. 2018.
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