The popular short story ‘The Gift of the Magi’ was written by American writer William Sydney Porter who later changed his name to O’ Henry after he came out from Prison where he had been incarcerated for embezzlement in 1898 in Columbus, Ohio.
The story was first published in December 10th, 1905 in The New York Sunday World and then on April 10, 1906 it appeared in O’ Henry’s second short story collection.
When Jim returns home from work, we find him staring at Della, trying to understand what happened to her lustrous hair.
Della then presents her Christmas gift to Jim and tells him that she sold her hair to buy him the present.
The theme of love is expressed throughout the story by both the character Della, and the character Jim. Henry indirectly shows how much Della loves and adores Jim when the narrator states, “Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him.
He shows how the two themes go together by showing how love persuades people to sacrifice anything just to make their loved ones happy and helps the loved ones realize how much they are loved and appreciated.Jim on his part gives his wife an ornamented hair comb that she had longed for.The irony of the situation now dawns on the characters as well as the reader: the gifts are now useless since they cannot be used because what they could be used with had been sold to acquire them.The story uses the literary technique of irony to resolve a well-crafted narrative.The technique of irony simply put is when expectation is different from outcome.In this story, the couple sell their most treasured possessions to acquire gifts for each other that at the end they couldn’t use because they could only practically use it with the possessions they had sacrificed to buy the gifts.Beyond irony, the theme of sacrifice and love is fully deployed in this literary works.On a practical sense, Della and Jim acted in the typical sentimental foolishness associated with love by not only wasting money to buy the other a present they weren’t going to use, they also had to lose their most prized possessions in the process. Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” there are two constant themes that O. Something fine and rare and sterling – something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim” (176).The definition of marriage in the oriental language Sanskrit corroborates the theme of the short story “The Gift of the Magi.” The word ‘vivaha’ (marriage) is beautifully composed.‘vaha’ means ‘to flow.’ ‘vi’ means ‘harmoniously together.’ Therefore, the word marriage means to flow together harmoniously.