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The Gift of the Magi Essay

The Gift of the Magi is a short story by O. Henry, first published in the New York Sunday World newspaper on December 10, 1905, which tells the tale of two young lovers who are unable to buy each other Christmas presents and so sell their most valued possessions—the woman’s hair and the man’s watch—to have enough money for the other person. This essay will look at how this famous Christmas tale may teach us about generosity, love, sacrifice, human nature, relationships between people.

Essay 1

The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry is a famous collection of short stories that features an unpredictable conclusion. The Gift of the Magis one of his finest works, which has become a Christmas story classic. The author demonstrates in this tale a genuine love between young spouses that is more valuable than any material possession. This essay will provide a summary of the plot, address the major themes and characters, and express personal view.


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Della Young is thinking about what she should give her married Jim for a present when the narrative begins. She counts her money and discovers she has only $1.87 to spend, which isn’t enough to get a nice present. She’s irritated because she wants to give her husband something he truly deserves for his efforts.

Della attempts to find a solution, and she eventually comes up with one. Her long, brilliant brown hair is her most valuable possession. She takes a shower and dresses up before heading to Madame Sofronie, the hairstylist. Della’s hair is cut quickly and she receives $20 from the woman.

Della goes to several shops in order to purchase a gift for Jim. She is not completely happy with anything she sees until she knows exactly what she requires. Della recalls that her husband’s most important possession is his gold watch, which he must wear with a leather strap due to the fact that the original one had been shattered. The woman gets a platinum chain and pays $21 for it before returning home.

When Jim discovers his wife without her gorgeous hair, he is shocked and perplexed. Della is unable to fathom his response until she unwraps his present for her. She uncovers a set of combs that she has longed for, but which appear to be useless due to her lack of lengthy hair.

She gives her husband the platinum chain, only to discover that Jim has sold his gold watch in order to get a present for her. Jim suggests they put away their Christmas gifts and dine instead of opening them on Christmas Day. The narrative concludes with the claim that Della and Jim are the most wise among those who give presents.

Main Characters

Della is one of the two main characters in the narrative. She is a beautiful young woman with a steadfast devotion to her spouse. Della is so grateful to Jim that she will not accept anything lesser than something exquisite as a gift for him. As a result, she sells her hair, which is the only thing she has left of value. She tells Jim, “I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present” (O. Henry 5).

Della is a very emotional woman, and she doesn’t hide her tears or her smiles when she’s desperate or delighted. Furthermore, her moods change quickly, as Della is grief-stricken over her haircut before becoming anxious to give Jim his Christmas present. Perhaps Della’s ardent love for Jim is somehow connected to the large number of emotions she feels.

Readers are ignorant of Jim’s thoughts since he only appears at the conclusion of the tale, but they observe his actions. Jim, like Della, gave up the most valuable thing he had, a watch worth $500, to get a present for his wife. It may be deduced that he is just as deeply in love with Della as she is with him given that the tale intends to demonstrate genuine love. After all, the story was written to exhibit true love and devotion, which is why the author made his characters so pure and loving.

Main Themes

The major topic of the tale is unquestionable love, which is the most important thing in the world. It’s free since Della and Jim don’t want anything more from each other; they’re simply happy to be together. When Della counts her modest savings, she does not consider laying blame on her husband for earning little money. On the contrary, she is grateful to be his spouse and wishes to give him the finest present she can afford (Study Guide 5).

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Due to the pair’s devotion, the author compares them to the magi who brought gifts to Jesus at Christmas (Zhang and Wang 657). Jim and Della are wiser, according on Zhang and Wang, because they gave one another the most valuable gift in existence: pure love. As a result, the narrative encourages individuals to pursue relationships.

The Gift of the Magi also deals with themes of wealth and poverty. According to Nagel, the tale “rings throughout American marriages, many of which went through periods of economic adversity” (102). The Young family is extremely poor, and Della has to negotiate with merchants for every penny (Tong 207).

Della and Jim are happy because they have a far more valuable treasure than money: their love. Zhang and Wang correctly observed that “there is no pure love in the world of money, but there is money in the world of love” (657). The tale therefore emphasizes the notion that material possessions do not play a significant role in human existence because strong affection is all that matters.

Personal Opinion

Although the tale is intended to convey pure love and encourage people to pursue it in their own relationships, when seen from a practical rather than a romantic viewpoint, it appears somewhat absurd. If the spouses had discussed their wishes and intentions with each other before exchanging useless presents, the exchange of worthless presents would not have happened.

Perhaps they could have set aside a pleasant dinner or something cheerful for both, saving money and personal items. Communication is an important component of a healthy relationship, so rather than giving up something precious to surprise one’s partner, it’s better to let him or her know about one’s intentions beforehand.


In conclusion, The Gift of the Magi is a wonderful love story about two young people who genuinely care for each other. Their devotion to give pleasure to one another is demonstrated by their willingness to part with the most precious things they possess. Apart from the theme of love, the narrative focuses on notions like wealth and poverty. It claims that wealthy individuals are not those with lots of money; rather, they are those who love and are loved in return.

Essay 2

The short story “The Gift of the Magi,” written by O. Henry, follows a young married couple who exchange their most precious belongings in order to get each other a Christmas present. Though the tale is about two people, it focuses largely on Della’s effort to discover a gift for Jim. Della is afraid that by not following tradition she would hurt Jim’s feelings and lose his affection for her.

The main problem in Jim and Della’s marriage is money. While Jim is introduced early on in the story and does not reappear until later, his external conflict may be inferred to be money. Jim now faces an internal struggle of how he can provide for his family on a lesser salary. He feels guilty for being unable to give his devoted wife with the pleasures she deserves as a husband who has the responsibility of supporting his family.

Della must come to terms with the fact that despite her penny-pinching, she was unable to save enough money for what she needed. Della next encounters psychological conflict as she attempts to think of ways to make more money. The cash Della faces an external struggle over is a cause for her mental withdrawal, allowing her to confront her internal conflict. Her first idea of how to get money was a nod towards both tradition and feminine stereotypes.

Della “rapidly pulls down her hair” (160) when she visits Madame Sofronie for a haircut, as it is not questioned since women made sacrifices for their spouses and it was accepted that they should be kept. Della’s offering of her most valued possession signifies to her husband that she genuinely appreciates him as the only way she can tell him how grateful she is.

Della ransacks shops for the present she wanted for her spouse, running and rummaging. Her looting of businesses represents and may be compared to Jim, who is known to have ransacked his brain in an attempt to figure out what his next move would be following his pay cut. She eventually locates a present and runs home.

The final scene, in which Della returns home and straightens her hair before her husband arrives, demonstrates her capacity to mimic him and turn a negative circumstance into a positive one. This is most significant to note that Della and her spouse are equally matched in terms of decision-making as well as the way they explain how both could give up their most valued belongings for the sake of the other.

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The result of Della’s and Jim Dillingham’s actions is that they have met. Della has chopped and sold her hair in order to receive a present of hair clips, while Jim has sold his watch in order to get a watch chain. It is ironic that Jim has disposed of the watch he had inherited from his family for years in favor of establishing another tradition: making significant sacrifices for those you care about.

Della, who is unaware of the sacrifice made in her name, does not realize that the custom she wanted to avoid breaking had already been broken by her spouse. When Della’s husband says “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep them for a while,” tradition is confirmed when they spend Christmas together.

This tale, based on the novella “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, is about not only love’s costs but also tradition’s concerns. Della Dillingham cut off her hair to buy a thank-you gift for her husband, who was kind and attentive. When James Dillingham sold his watch in order to buy a present for his beloved wife, he defied custom by doing so; yet this sacrifice was fueled by his strong love for her.

The Dillinghams’ story came to a tragic end when their donations canceled each other out, but the gift of love that was demonstrated by embracing tradition with genuine “Christmas spirit” will last a lifetime.

Essay 3

In the short story “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry, Mr. and Mrs. Dillingham Young gave up their most valuable belongings for one another in order to get each other great Christmas gifts. Della’s lovely hair was her most treasured possession, which she chopped off and sold for money. Jim’s watch, valued at $50, was his greatest treasure; he also sold it so that he could get Della a gift. To buy each other something unique, Della and Jim both sold their favorite things.

Della presented Jim with a platinum chain for his watch. For her hair, Jim got tortoise shell clips from Della. Since both had surrendered their most precious belongings to each other, the presents were meaningless, but extremely valuable to them in their eyes. In this brief narrative, the writer offers a wonderful example of a genuine love affair. It demonstrates how genuine love should be portrayed and the hurdles that must be overcome in order to have a relationship like these two individuals did.

The narrator of this tale is a third party who observes the events unfolding between the pair. The observer in O. Henry’s short fiction is the narrator, who watches as the story unfolds. In this tale, the author has chosen not to describe feelings among the couple through words. However, remarks are made throughout their actions.

They sacrifice something they enjoy in order to buy something unique for their partner, demonstrating their love. To comprehend the true bond between the pair, one must look deeper than what is apparent on the surface. It is also demonstrated through the characters and narrator in the story that there exists genuine love between them.

The characters in this little tale are extremely realistic, and many individuals can connect to them in some way or another. Almost everyone can relate to them, for example, when it comes to Christmas time and people buying beautiful things for their loved ones. Both of these people were exceptionally kind and loving individuals.

Essay 4

The Gift of the Magi, a short story by O. Henry, a pen name for William Sydney Porter – a renowned American writer, is one of the most well-known stories in his collection. Originally published in 1906 in O. Henry’s second collection of brief tales, The Gift of the Magi, which features all of the significant O. Henry qualities in abundance has given him credit for his real talent.

It has been told in many forms since then, especially at Christmas time. The tale is about a young poor couple, Jim and Della Dillingham Young, who sell their most important item in order to buy a gift for their partner, but they end up making each other’s present worthless.

The sacrifice that they made was without comparison, as far as I’m concerned. Della’s unending love for Jim is highlighted when she not only has the courage to haggle and humiliate herself in grocery purchases, but also shaves her hair and loses her attractiveness to give Jim a present that would demonstrate her enormous devotion for him.

As a falling action, when the facts are all revealed, the pair understands that their talents are now useless due to their “foolish sacrifice.” As a result, Jim advises them to put away their Christmas presents and save them for further usage. The Gift of the Magi employs paradoxical happenstances in an effective yet simple manner to create a powerful and surprising irony at the conclusion.

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Despite the fact that the presents Jim and Della had tried to obtain for each other are now useless, their selfless devotion for love has only increased our admiration. The couple remains in love at the conclusion of the story, having learnt an important yet devastating lesson about love based on the cost of gifts to each other. They are as wise as the Magi in terms of gift-giving, who followed a guiding star to Israel after bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh as offerings to Jesus when he was born.

Essay 5

It might be tough to find the ideal present for the individual we care about deeply. Della is really intent on obtaining Jim the perfect gift during Christmas time in O. Henry’s short story The Gift of the Magi. She goes to many shops and even cuts her hair as it is Christmas Eve, and she wants to get Jim a gift. Della in O. Henry’s short story The Gift of the Magi is hardworking since she plans ahead, makes sacrifices, and above all, works hard to find Jim the ideal present.

Della is considerate for the first reason because she prepares ahead of time. It reads, “She had set aside as much as she could throughout the months…” (Page 2.) This indicates that she is really trying her hardest to earn money. She has been saving up as much money as possible and working hard for it. She was really well prepared with the present. She put away a significant amount of money over a long period of time. The cost per week of furnished rooms is $8. (Page 1.)

She’s thoughtful because she does favors for strangers and Jim. She’s working hard to earn the money, and she’s doing other people’s chores to acquire it. She is assisting other individuals so that she may assist Jim. $8 may not appear like much, but to Della, it is a significant amount of money.

Della is considerate for the second reason because she makes sacrifices. It reads, “Will you purchase my hair? Della asked.” (Page 3.) This implies that she is donating something really unique to her. She probably didn’t want to, but she had to if she wanted money. This indicates that Della is giving up her hair even though it isn’t necessary.

Finally, in the narrative, it is stated that Jim is not concerned about what Della gives him. Another piece of evidence is: “She had set aside one cent at a time as she bought meats and other food in her meticulous purchasing.” This suggests that she is attempting to spend her money wisely. Steak might be costly at times, for example, but she strives to save money by avoiding overspending.

My last reason is that she works really hard to find Jim the ideal present. It says in the text, “I couldn’t survive Christmas without getting you a present.” This indicates that this present must be highly significant to him. If it wasn’t, she wouldn’t be scouring shops trying to find him a gift. It also says, “She was driving from one store to another looking for a gift for Jim.”

The little girl wearing a straw hat and carting around a large bunch of flowers in one hand is not only adorable, but also shows that she’s looking for the best. This also implies that she isn’t just choosing the first thing she sees; rather, she continues to seek for the ideal one. Also, this is really kind of her even though she doesn’t have much money. It’ll be interesting to see how things turn out in the next episode.

Overall, Della seems to be a thoughtful person. She isn’t concerned with herself alone; she cares about others as well. She didn’t get Jim a gift for herself, so she put others before herself by giving him one. She put in a lot of effort into this present. The Gift of the Magi portrays Della as being considerate since she plans ahead, makes sacrifices, and above all works diligently to find Jim the perfect present.

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