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The Gift of the Magi, by O.Henry
Transcript of The Gift of the Magi, by O.Henry
Presented by Mrs. Gasparini
Allusion: an implied reference to another event, person, thing, or text
Irony: when the opposite what is expected occurs
Jim bought Della a comb she wanted.
"For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone" (Henry)
Della reassures Jim that her "hair grows so fast" (Henry)
Della gives Jim his gift - the fob chain.
She asks him to take out his watch to attach to the chain.
Jim tells her he sold his watch for money to buy her comb.
Jim suggests they put the gifts away for now and start dinner.
Della is upset because she only has $1.87
Living in a very simple apartment
Jim is Della's husband
They are facing financial struggles
They seem happy together: "Whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called 'Jim' and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good" (Henry).
For $20 Della sells her hair to Mne. Sofronie.
Della bought Jim a platinum fob chain for his watch ($21).
Della has long, beautiful hair: "beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining"
Della has a desire to please her husband and worries about what he thinks: "When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason.
"Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy."
Queen of Sheba was Ethiopian royalty. King Solomon of Israel offered her anything she wanted.
O. Henry is refering to Della's hair as something greater than all the gifts King Solomon would give the Queen of Sheba, making his gifts look like nothing. Jim's watch is thought to be greater than anything King Solomon could possible possess.
Situaional Irony: Della cut off her hair to buy a fob chain for Jim while Jim sold his watch to buy a comb for Della's long hair. Both gave up their prized possessions for the other and each ended up with gifts they could no longer use....IRONIC! (and so sweet!)