Gift Of The Magi Analysis

855 words - 3 pages

O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" encompasses an array of fictional elements. In particular, the theme of selfless love that transcends all barriers in the face of adversity is emphasized. This is portrayed through Henry's system of narration as well as the individual actions taken by the characters as an act of love. The short story's universal themes and ironic outcome has subsequently resulted in much critical acclaim. Of prominence were the criticisms made by Current-Garcia, Peel and Voss, which all appreciate the significance Henry placed on both the concepts of romantic love and self-sacrificial love."The Gift of the Magi" concerns of the mutual self-sacrifice between husband and wife, evincing the notion that "love conquers all". 'O. Henry crystallized dramatically what the world in all its stored-up wisdom knows to be of fundamental value in ordinary family life. Unselfish love shared, regardless of the difficulties or distractions - this is the idea repeatedly implied as a criterion in his fictional treatment of domestic affairs.' The story tells of a young married couple each of whom sells a treasured possession to obtain the money necessary to purchase a gift for the other. Their sacrifices are a true representation of the abysmal love they have for one another. This love was expressed by the sentimental value rather than the price of the gifts and more by the sacrifices they made. Della sells her beautiful long hair to buy a platinum chain for Jim's watch, only to discover that he sold it to buy the jeweled tortoise-shell combs for her hair. In the end, neither gift was useful and was rather, a sign of their love - they were gifts from the heart. We witness this through O. Henry's use of authorial intrusion: "And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children …",emphasizing his role as the omniscient third person narrator which gives his account a ring of truth and credibility. Given such a system of narration, the characters' dialogue stands out with particular relief, accentuating the plot and style of the text while giving their actions valid emphasis. The detailing and accumulation of events through the characters' actions demonstrates their ability to openly express compassion and understanding in the face of adversity. This is the extent to which the story appeals to the notion that "love conquers all".Henry thus illustrates that love is the foundation for their relationship which provides them with the strength to live through poverty. Their devotion to one another in times of adversity conveys the...

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