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Why was it perfect? Describe a time when a gift didn't work out. What could have made the situation different?

A Special Christmas Story: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

How was the situation handled? Describe an ironic incident in your own life. What was actually expected to happen, and why was the actual event ironic? Share Flipboard Email. Esther Lombardi is a veteran journalist who has written about literature, education, and technology. Updated January 04, What are some central ideas, or themes, to the story?

What are some conflicts in the story? Are they internal or external? List a metaphor or comparison in the story?

The Gifts of the Magi | Maryland Ensemble Theatre

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The Gift of the Magi by O. Della and Jim don't have much in the way of material possessions, but the two take great pride in Jim's gold watch, which belonged to his grandfather, and Della's long brown hair that flows below her knees. Della has an idea. Della trades her hair for the money and then purchases a platinum fob chain with it.

Then she hurries home, curls her hair and prepares the house for Jim's homecoming. When Jim arrives, he sees Della and looks stunned. This scares her so she quickly explains that she cut her hair to buy him a present and reassures him that her hair will grow back. But Jim can't believe her hair is gone. Finally he gives her a hug and says that an external change in Della could not make him love her less. He tosses a package on the table and asks her to open it.

In it, she finds an expensive set of combs made from tortoise shell. They have jeweled rims.

by O. Henry

She had been longing for these combs for some time. Through tears, she tells Jim that her hair will grow back, so the combs will be well used.

The Gift of the Magi

Then she gives him his present and asks for his gold watch so she can attach the chain. Instead of giving her his watch, Jim sits on the couch and smiles. He tells her that he sold his watch to buy her combs. The narrator compares the sacrificial giving of these two as being wise and equates them to the magi who gave their gifts to a newborn in a manger. Before Della shows Jim her cut hair, she says a prayer asking God to help Jim think she's still pretty.

Then there is the mention of magi being wise and bringing valuable gifts to the "Babe in the manger. When Jim hugs Della, the narrator asks the reader to look away for 10 seconds to give the two a moment of privacy. Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily. You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests family.

His weekly, The Rolling Stone , folds. Two years later, federal auditors review the books of the National Bank of Austin and find its accounting a mess. The bank management may have found a scapegoat in Will, but he is accused of embezzlement, arrested in Houston and released on bail pending trial. On a train back to Austin, Will decides to depart at a station along the way and instead takes an eastbound train for New Orleans. From there he lands on a ship and ends up in Honduras where he hangs out with other fugitives for a few months. He tries to get Athol to join him, but she is gravely ill and when he learns that her time on his earth is limited he returns to Austin.

She dies of tuberculosis, shortly after he gets there, leaving young Margaret, age three, in care of her grandmother as her father surrenders to the Court. While the jury of public opinion is still out on his guilt or innocence, the only jury that mattered at the time, found him guilty and he was sentenced to prison. Humiliated, demoralized, grieving his beloved Athol and missing his child, William Sydney Porter enters the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus. While in the penitentiary, he works at the prison pharmacy and, due to his contribution, is given sufficient time to write.

The publishers did not know they were actually from prisoner Number Which brings us back to the streets of New York where, after serving his time, he spent the final nine years of his life and wrote over pieces during this prolific period. He often met deadlines after their time limit and when the December 21, story, was due for the New York World Magazine, his publisher sent the illustrator to get it. At some point, he began corresponding with his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Lindsey Coleman from North Carolina.

Towards the end of his New York years, she came up to the city and they were married. He preferred the city streets and bars and Sarah, a southern aristocrat, returned to North Carolina.

The Gift of the Magi

One of his last tales, The Ransom of Red Chief , which is still in many a high school literature textbook as an example of the American short story, was published in The same year, at age 47, he succumbed to complications from diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver. He was broke when he died. Newsletter Signup Sign up to receive emails about upcoming events, site updates, and other news!

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