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"The Gift of the Magi" Plot Diagram.

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Megan Broome

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of "The Gift of the Magi" Plot Diagram.


"The Gift of the Magi" Plot Diagram.

By: Makala Willis & Megan Broome
The "Gift of the Magi" takes places on Christmas Eve. The main character, Della, was devastated because "she only had $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present(247)." They weren't wealthy people and it had taken Della months just to get that small amount of money. But, Della and Jim each had their own prized possessions, much greater than wealth. Della's beautiful, brown, hair and Jim's gold watch.
Inciting Incident
The inciting incident occurs when Della is looking in the mirror and realizes that she can sell her hair to have enough money for Jim's gift. She quickly runs to the salon and asks "Will you buy my hair?(248)" The woman takes a look at her hair and agrees for "Twenty dollars(248)." Della's most prized possession is cut off, thus igniting the plot.
Rising Action
1. After Della received the $20 dollars for her hair, she went through many stores searching for the perfect gift for Jim. She finally found his gift, a "platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design(248)."

2. Della rushed home and curled her, now short hair, hoping to make it look better. She was worried that Jim would think she was unattractive now, saying "Please God, make him think I am still pretty (249)."

3. As soon as Jim arrived home, he looked at her strangely. She thought it was because he now found her ugly and she tried explaining her new hair. Jim stood confused, but reassured her that "I don't think there's anything in the way of haircut... make my girl any less(251)."
Jim gives Della her gift and tells her that "If you unwrap that package you may see why you had me going at first(251)."
The dilemma in "The Gift of the Magi" is when Della opens the gift that Jim gave to her. The story says "For there the lay the combs...that Della had worshiped for long in a Broadway window(251)." Della has the choice to either be happy about the combs or be sad that she had cut her hair short earlier and the combs were basically of no use to her now.
Climax/Turning Point
The climax is when Della grabs the combs she receives and smiles, saying "My hair grows so fast, Jim(251)!" Even though she doesn't have her beautiful hair to use her combs with, she still remains positive. This is turning point because it is where everything switches around.
Falling Action
The falling action is when Della tries to hand Jim his gift, but he "Instead of obeying...tumbled down on the couch...and smiled(251)." You can tell that this is falling action because their is a literal falling of events where it says Jim "tumbled down(251)."
"Let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while...I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs(251)," and "Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest(251)," show the resolution because it is the end of the conflict. Della now knows that Jim's watch is gone and Jim knows that Della's hair is gone. They both sacrificed their most beloved possessions to buy something for the one they love, but Jim just wants to enjoy their love at the moment.
Protagonist: Della
Antagonist: Her money status
Internal Conflict: (man vs. man) Della doesn't know how she is going to buy Jim an acceptable gift with only $1.87
External Conflict: (man vs. money) Della doesn't have enough money
Point of View: 3rd person
Fate or Destiny? "The Gift of the Magi" is destiny because Della does what she has to in order to get Jim's gift. If it was fate then she would have just let things plan out themselves.
Moral: Love is the the greatest gift & Your loved ones are more important than objects.
Theme: Love, Gift giving, Generosity, Sacrifice
Foreshadowing: "It was even worthy of the watch... grand as the watch was he sometimes looked at it... (249)"
Irony: This story has situational irony because Della sells her hair to get Jim a gift and so does Jim, but you don't expect for Jim to sell his prized possession as well.
Tragic Flaw: Their love for each other.

Bottom of the Plot Graph:
Full transcript