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Commentary on O. Henry's "Gift of a Magi".

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Introduction

"Gift of a Magi" Essay In "The Gift of a Magi," the theme is the most important literary element and is the "driving force" in the story. The theme can be that love and sacrifice is treasured above all else. The theme is showed when Della and Jim sell their most prized possession, which is the sacrifice, and buys each other a gift, which is the love. This led to Della and Jim being portrayed as foolish and childish, but they treasured that ironic moment which was filled with love and sacrifice, and set aside their materials gifts. Also, the author's focus of writing the story was to get the theme across to the reader. This is because the author did believe the theme was true. This is captured when O. Henry says, "Let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest." The author meant Della and Jim when he said this. The theme therefore can be described as the foundation of the story, so if there was no theme, the whole story would fall apart. So since theme is established as a foundation it affects most of the literary elements but it is also affected by two others. ...read more.

Middle

Love over everything else can make the reader feel different feelings all at once like joy since love is treasured but melancholy since sacrifice is also involved. This feeling is held on throughout the story until the very end, where the reader is surprised and either feels Della and Jim are like Magi, wise which is the author's perspective, or like children who are foolish. The perspective of the reader depends on the emotions and beliefs of the reader. The tone can also affect the mood. The tone in "The Gift of a Magi" can be described as sentimentalism meaning warm or tender feelings. This is because the author thinks that Jim and Della are the wisest because the gift of love and sacrifice, which the author thinks is far better than any other material gift. This attitude of the author describes the theme which is love and sacrifice is treasured above all. The tone is affected by theme because the main point on the author's agenda could be to get the theme across to the reader which is the tone since it is the author's feelings or attitude to what he writes. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is person versus society because they are poor and cannot afford for presents but it is Christmas, so they are determined to buy presents for each other. They are so determined that they even sacrificed their most prized possession that the author compared to famous people, Solomon and Sheba. Setting also affects character because if they did not live in a flat in a poor neighbor in the early twentieth century, they would not be poor which plays a key role in the personalities of Della and Jim. The author would not be able to shape the story to make the theme what it is and therefore, tone would not be affected by the theme. Without setting, all the other literary elements would collapse like a domino effect. Even though theme is the "driving force" of the story, setting plays a major role in the story. Finally if the setting was not during Christmas time, Della and Jim would not be in such a rush to buy each other presents instead of saving and then later buying presents if it was before or after Christmas. Therefore, theme is the main literary element in "The Gift of a Magi" and affects or is affected by many of the literary elements. ...read more.

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