The Gift Of The Magi Theme And Narrative Essay

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The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry written in 1906 is a tale of love and giving between a wife and husband who do not have the financial means to purchase each other gifts at Christmas time. The couple sacrifices the two items they each have, which although not expensive, bring them the most joy. O. Henry’s usage of symbolism, setting, and irony will be discussed in the following theme and narrative elements in this short story essay. O. Henry utilizes symbolism and allusion connected to the number three throughout The Gift of the Magi. The first indication of this is found in the story’s title. The Magi, also known as the Three Wise Men, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh when Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem (Corley, 2009). The Magi gave these gifts freely and unselfishly to Jesus believing he was the “Promised One.” Another example of the symbolism of the number three in the story is the narrator’s description of the envy the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon would feel if they saw Della’s hair and Jim’s watch (Clugston, 2010). The chronicle of the Queen of Sheba appears in religious texts of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The legend claims the Queen of Sheba brought King Solomon three gifts of spices, gold, and precious jewels (Munro-Hay, 2005). It is interesting to note in both the story of the Three Wise Men and the mythical story of the Queen of Sheba, the gifts given to Jesus and King Solomon were worth a great deal in terms of monetary value. Whereas in The Gift of the Magi, Della’s hair and Jim’s watch, while both items were very important to them, were not worth much financially (Clugston, 2010). O. Henry leads the reader to see symbolization also in the fact that Della and Jim give three distinct gifts to each other, Della’s hair, Jim’s watch, and the love they have for each other. The gifts of the hair combs and watch chain

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