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The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry

Book Overview: 

The Gift of the Magi is an O. Henry short story in which a young couple are very much in love with each other but can barely afford their one-room apartment. For Christmas, they each make a sacrifice to purchase a gift for the other, with ironic results.

The moral of the story is that physical possessions, however valuable they may be, are of little value in the grand scheme of things. The true unselfish love that the characters, Jim and Della, share is greater than their possessions.

O. Henry ends the story by clarifying the metaphor between the characters in the story, Della and James (or Jim), and the Biblical Magi. The Gift of the Magi features O. Henry’s characteristic twist ending and use of flowery diction.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observ. . . Read More

Community Reviews

O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," illustrated by Lizabeth Zwerger was among my gifts to my wife our first Christmas together. It is one of our annual traditions that I read it to her each Christmas. Yes, I'm hopelessly romantic. I imagine we'll finally hit a year when I hear a gentle snore when she

The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi is a short story, written by O. Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter), about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.

As a sentimental story with a mor

This has been one of my favourite stories since I was a child. Can't imagine winter holidays without reading this one.

I did not know this short story, thanks to Amalia, who brought me to this short book! In the spirit of Christmas, this is a heartwarming story about a young and poor couple who both, without knowing it from each other, sacrifice something personal and precious, to give each other a present at Christ

“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.”

One of the most beautiful, most touching Christmas stories, set in New York at the beginning of the 20th century. A young couple is anticipating Christmas but the era is difficult and money is nonexistent. However, Chri

A beautiful reminder of loving and giving. Merry Christmas!

I recently read this for the first time as a short story in a collection of O. Henry’s works. This is done up as a children’s picture book. I don’t think it works all that well as a children’s book. It is too wordy and there are a lot of words needing to be explained to them (not that that’s bad and

5★
I love this old O Henry story, first published in 1905, and I like to re-read it every now and then. Seemed like a good finish for 2016.

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the v

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