hair and pleads with him to remain calm so that they could enjoy the Christmas celebrations. Della takes out the watch chain and presents it to her husband and explains that she sold her hair to buy her that, so he could be able to wear his gold watch. Her husband asks her to take a seat and he also unveils his present to her. It is ironical that Jim had bought her a hair comb that she had admired sometime back but couldn’t afford it then. The irony is coupled with a dramatic turn of events since Jim had in fact sold his watch to buy her the hair comb for hair she had shaven to buy a chain for a watch he had sold. (Henry 1982). The great despair shown by Della and sentiments of unease for failing to procure a gift for her husband shows the extent of love and appreciation she has for Jim as her husband. it is clearly expressed in her sentiments, "Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim, her Jim?" from the
Ibrahim 3 statement it is clear that she is deeply troubled that she won't be able to appreciate Jim. Also, from the author's sentiment, "she had had many happy hours planning something nice for him. Something nearly good enough. Something almost worth the honor of belonging to Jim." This shows how much she loved Jim and valued her relationship with him (Korb 2010). Amidst the poverty, the author emphasizes that the couple have two possessions they hold dear by indicating that a King or queen-both renowned for their wealth, could covet them. If there is something Della really loved, it was her hair. The storyteller goes ahead to explain the value of her lustrous hair by making an allusion that if a queen lived nearby, she would wash it in her sight for she knew that it was much more precious than any of the queen's gifts or jewels. For Jim in their apartment and Jim went to visit, the only thing he could have admired was the gold watch (Henry 1982). They were both very proud of these two items. The love for Della's hair is evident when she halts to shed tears at the thought of cutting it for sale, but the love for her husband exceeds that of her hair so she cuts it down anyway. At this point, we can see the theme of sacrifice being borne of the act. She goes ahead to use that money to buy Jim a chain that would increase the worth of Jim's prized possession as well as make him happy and proud. She does all this at her own expense even with the risk of upsetting Jim. According to Wilton Eckley, the irony in this classic literature works on a practical and sentimental level. Della and Jim buy gifts for each other which at the end of the day do not make financial sense. The outcome of their sacrifices is a complete twist of what they had expected as it turns out none of them can use the gifts they bought each other. Della knows that she might
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- Spring '10
- Short story, The Gift of the Magi, Jim, Della