The Gift Of Magi Essay

2441 words - 10 pages

The story "The Gift of the Magi" was written in 1906 by O. Henry (real name - William Sydney Porter) - a famous American writer. O. Henry's short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings. Most of O. Henry's stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: clerks, policemen, waitresses, etc.O. Henry's works are wide-ranging, and his characters can be found roaming the cattle-lands of Texas or investigating the tensions of class and wealth in turn-of-the-century New York. O. Henry had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing ...view middle of the document...

Sacrifice as proof of wisdom.Wealth is not a material thing, but love that is spiritual.Femininity is great power.The events in the story take place in New York City in a very modest apartment and in a hair shop down the street from the apartment. O. Henry sketches the flat with just enough detail to convey it's image: cheap, sparsely furnished, broken mailbox and doorbell. Everything was grey: Della "looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard". It is also a case of asyndeton because the conjunction "at" in "walking a grey fence" is omitted. From the "gas" which Della lights and gadgets she has: a stove and curling irons, it can be said that the story is set about the time O. Henry wrote it - the first decade of the 20th century). The setting is described in details and it contributes to the vision of poverty and hard life of the young family. The setting of the events is realistic. Porter does not mention New York by name, but he refers to Coney Island, the city's most famous amusement park, located in the borough of Brooklyn. O. Henry also mentions that Della had worshipped the combs for long in a Broadway window. This is another proof that events take place in New York. The action takes place on a Christmas Eve. The drabness of the setting in which Jim and Della live create a contrast with the atmosphere of Christmas and the warmth and richness of their love for each other.From the very first line of the story we notice the usage of such graphical means as capitalization: "ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. THAT WAS ALL. AND SIXTY CENTS of it was in pennies". It is used to draw our attention to the main problem - lack of money. The usage of the pronoun "one" instead of "her" in the following sentence: "Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied" give an utterance a more general character and underline Della's state when she had to ask money. It was hard for her and she found herself in an awkward situation. There is an epithet: "silent imputation of parsimony". It also stresses that though Della was strong by her nature: she was "bulldozing" but she was also timid. The inversion: "Three times Della counted it" underline how thrifty and careful Della was. There are constant repetitions of the phase: "one dollar and eighty-seven cents" which stress Della's hopelessness. A repetition of adjectives "grey": "…looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard" helps to create the atmosphere of sadness. Anticlimax: "life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles" describe the reality of life". Another epithet: "beggar description" which is the combination on N1+N2, with N1 performing the function of an adjective describing the flat in which the Dillinghams lived and underline their poverty. The periphrasis: "mortal finger" stands for "person,...

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