lives for her husband. But it looks like her husband might live only for her too. After all, he sacrifices his watch – which is a precious object that's been passed down through his family for generations (and won't grow back) – to get her a gift. And given how humble their circumstances are, and how hard his work must be, it's not clear what else he would have to live for besides Della. So is Jim just as devoted to Della as Della is to Jim? It's likely that he is. If that's the case, though Della and Jim definitely play different roles, they're in a relationship of equality, and equal devotion. That makes Della's own devotion less strange, and kind of wonderful – like it's supposed to be. Della and Jim's utter devotion to each other is the whole point of the story, after all. It's because of this devotion that both sacrifice their only prized possessions to get gifts for each other. That selflessness is what makes them wise givers – magi – and what teaches us the lesson about the meaning of giving that the narrator wants to get across. Still, it's true that we don't actually ever get to go inside Jim's head and see whether he loves her as much as she loves him. So if you want to be skeptical of the narrator's heartwarming ending and be cynical about Della, we suppose you can. Della's Hysteria
But you might still find one more complaint to make about Della. She might seem unrealistically emotional. The very first thing we see her do is collapse into a sobbing fit on the couch. And once she gets Jim's present, she shrieks in ecstasy only to burst into tears almost immediately afterwards: And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. (37) Not only that, throughout the story Della just seems on edge, as if she were continuously overexcited. Do you ever notice how Della never just walks or turns, she "suddenly whirls"? As in "suddenly she whirled from the window" (8) or "with a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door" (11). Then there's the time when she "leap[s] up like a little singed cat and crie[s] 'Oh, oh!'" just because she wants Jim to have his present so badly (40).
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