We often get a request from people who are interested in O. Henry stories which stories belong to the top list of his. And the answer automatically given by many search engines says it’s ‘The Gift of the Magi’. The second question is what is ‘The gift of the Magi’ about. Although the story is not so long by itself some people would like to get the summary of ‘The Gift of the Magi’ first or ‘The gift of the Magi’ synopsis before they start reading a full version.
But in reality, reading any summary, including ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry summary will never bring readers the same sympathy with the characters and deep feelings they could experience while reading an authentic book. Nevertheless, run by customers’ wish we yield and provide you with ‘The Gift of the Magi’ summary and analysis.
‘The Gift of The Magi’ Summary
‘The Gift of the Magi’ is a short story written by O. Henry, an American short story author. This story was first published in The New York Sunday World in 1905.
The author tells us the story that happened the next day after Christmas, also called a Boxing Day. That was the day when many people exchanged boxes with presents. The main characters Della and Jim could hardly make both ends meet and lived rather modestly. The only precious things they possessed were Jim’s gold wristwatch inherited from his ancestors, the other was Della’s hair. Below is a detailed ‘The Gift of the Magi’ plot summary.
Della is described as a young and faithful married woman. Another great strength of hers was being careful with money. She tried to save every cent. Nevertheless, on the eve of Christmas the sum turns to be so tiny it’s impossible to please her beloved with something really good. Sad and distressed, having splashed a few bitter tears on the carpet, suddenly she catches an image of herself in a cheap mirror. Her long, beautiful hair falls in the majestic fold until reaching just below her knees. That’s what she was really proud of and her husband adored so much.
The next turn in ‘The Gift of the Magi’ plot seems strange at first sight only. Della grabs her jacket and slips out of the door. But you know, there was the hairdresser’s on the opposite side of the street. She saw a signboard which read: All kinds of hairstyles and wigs. The idea inmate her eyes shine.
In a quarter of an hour, she left the hairdresser’s with extra eighty dollars in her purse and her hair short. She searched for all the stores of the town for Jim’s present. She turned all the shops inside out. And at last, she found it. It had been surely made for Jim. She found a gold chain worthy of Jim’s watch. They charged her much, but it didn’t matter. At home, she got out her curly irons, turned on the gas and lit it. Within twenty minutes her head was covered with tiny curls which made her look like a teenager.
When Jim finally came home from work, his eyes were fixed on Della’s hair. And there was an expression in them that terrified her. Della could not understand the roots of the problem.
She tried to explain she had had her hair cut off and sold it because she could not help giving him a present for Christmas. Wishing Jim Merry Christmas, Della gives him the chain she had been chasing for so long.
Silently Jim throws his package on the table. The reason for him to have gone almost mad was the fact that he had sold his family heirloom in order to buy her the present as useless as his own one was…
Della hurriedly unwrapped the package and saw a set of combs, they were pure tortuous shell combs which Della had worshiped for life in a Broadway window.
The narrative then ends with a contrast of Della and Jim’s gifts to the gifts that the three wise men or the Magi brought to the baby Jesus while in the manger. It was an anecdote to the story of Christmas in the bible. To sum up, Della and Jim are much wiser compared to the Magi since theirs were gifts of love. And whoever gives out of love and self-sacrifice is wise.
That was ‘The Gift of the Magi’ summary. If you were interested in the summary of the story ‘The Gift of Magi’ and hoped to find deep analysis of the characters here, surely, you may have come across some prompts, but if it concerns serious research we recommend you, first, to read the original manuscript and, second, search for ‘The Gift of Magi’ summary prepared by professional critics of O. Henry works.