The Gift of the Magi Title
O’ Henry’s The Gift if The Magi is one of his most famous short stories. It is actually a story of sacrificial love of a young married couple namely Jim and Della. They are the two central characters. They love each other very much like the three Biblical wise men of the East. The Magi, both Jim and Della sacrifices their most valuable wealth for one another. So, the adroit short story writer William Sydney Porter compares them to the Magi.
Let us now see how he has justified the title– The Gift of the Magi Actually the Magi were the three Biblical wise men from the East who came to the infant Jesus Christ bearing precious gift for him. Following a star in the sky, they travelled for years to see child Christ with valuable gift for him. In this sense they are really wise. In this story, The Gift of The Magi, Jim and Della are also similarly wise in the sense that they buy valuable gift for each other as they are most favorite to each other in exchange of losing their most valuable asset. So they are not wise in the eye of society, but in the eye of ideal love. Thus, the story keeps up the title well.
Cleverly, the story is set at Christmas time when both Jim and Della desire to present each other a gift valuable and suitable, honorable and worthy. Each of them has one most valuable thing. Della has her long, luxuriant and beautiful hair it is something that she values most and Jim also admires most. On the other hand Jim has a beautiful gold watch that once belonged to his father and grandfather.
Anyway, Della sells her hair to buy a perfect chain for his watch because it has no chain. Hence, she thinks that Jim will no longer have to hide the watch in his pocket. On the other hand, Jim sells his watch to buy the beautiful and lovely hair comb that Della once admired and earnestly wished to buy to adorn her hair. Thus, each of them sacrifices their most valuable possession for each other, though foolishly.
In the opinion of O Henry, the short story writer, they are the modern Magi. Every where they are the wisest of all who give and receive gifts. And if we compare and look deep into the implication of the story, we see that the Magi were rich. They were the three kings of the East. They gave infant Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Though Jim and Della are poor they make their supreme sacrifices to buy each other a suitable gift on the Christmas day. Thus O’ Henry explains and relates to the significance of the Biblical title The Gift of the Magi in addition at the end of the story he shows the argument that though Jim and Della may have acted foolishly in the eye of society, their gift is selfless and their love is matchless in both the cases they sacrifice their supreme sacrifices.
Thus the title of the story The Gift of the Magi reinforces the writer’s larger theme about gift giving. That is, the gift itself is not so important as the love & sacrifice behind the gift. It is true that the Magi brought gift to honor infant Jesus Christ, but it is equally true that Jim and Della honor their selfless love for each other.
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