The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two stories. I have chosen The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry and Country Lovers, by Nadine Gordimer to accomplish this assignment. My intentions are to compare the author’s writing style, their differences in setting and theme, and note similarities as well. I will focus this paper on not only technical aspects of the author’s writing style, but their use of symbolism in their writing as well. The love the protagonists felt for each in both stories differed as well as the gifts they shared. In O. Henry’s love story, the love between the main characters was sweet and pure. Even though the characters were poor, their love generated precious gifts. Nadine Gordimer’s love story involved a darker theme of forbidden love during apartheid, the gifts given were in secrecy and harbored lies. Of all gifts given, it is not the cost of the gift that gives it worth; it is the condition of the giver’s heart and their intent that determines its true purpose and worth.
Each author chose to write his or her story in third-person point of view. This view made it possible for the theme of the story to be revealed with an omniscient tone. Each author made a change to first-person when needed to help reveal the resolution. By using point of view this way, both authors were able to hold the reader’s interest until the end. For O. Henry, it helped reveal a special love that made his story as precious as its characters. Nadine Gordimer did the same in ending her story with Thebedi’s interview. Even though the story was darker, it gave the reader a feeling of a hopeful new life for Thebedi.
O. Henry wrote “The Gift of the Magi” set in the time in which he lived, 1906. Nadine Gordimer wrote Country Lovers in 1975, which was also the time she lived. Even though these times were very different, some characters in each of the stories shared common ground in being underprivileged. The love felt between the main characters was innocent and pure at first. Both authors used symbolism of gifts to build the exposition of their story.
Gifts given have many languages, types, and nuances. People like giving gifts to their loved ones and friends. A gift’s worth is determined by how close a person is to the person being gifted. Parents and children exchange gifts, as do siblings, friends, teachers, co-workers. The gifts I give to my family are different from gifts to my co-workers. The amount of money spent and time invested in obtaining the gift also differs. Most often, my co-workers receive hand-made gifts such as baked goods, or chocolate spoons to dip in their coffee. Even though these gifts are hand-made, they are still worth as much as store bought gifts. Godbout (1998) states “Today, still, nothing can be initiated or undertaken, can thrive or function, if it is not nourished by the gift. This, to begin at the beginning, is true of life itself, which, at least for the moment, is neither bought nor obtained by force but...