The Gift of the Magi

Madeline H. McLean B. Cameron M.

Summary (McLean)

The Gift of The Magi is about a very poor couple living in a small flat. Barely able to scrounge up enough money to survive, when it comes Christmas time they struggle to get the other a present. Della, the wife, had beautiful long hair which was her most prized possession. While Jim, the husband, had a solid gold watch which was passed down from generation to generation and he treasured it with all of his heart. Neither of them having enough money to get a present they both end up selling their favorite things. Which it turns out Jim gets Della nice combs which Della cant use with her now short hair. Della gets Jim a watch band for his watch which he can't use without his watch.


Literary Element - Situational Irony (Madeline)

"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

In the story The Gift Of The Magi, the literary element of situational irony was shown through the course of the whole story. Situational irony is an occasion in literature which the outcome is different from what was expected. The situational irony in this story is when Della sells her beautiful hair to buy a nice looking watch chain for her beloved Jim, while Jim sold his family watch to buy expensive combs for his beloved Della's hair. They both were shocked when finding this out, now both their gifts are useless and their prized possessions gone. However, this is the "so what" of the story. The situational irony to all this isn't just to look at their losses, which would be the loss of things that were sentimental to them and the gain of pointless gifts. The author add in the situational irony to show how much the couple loved each other. According to the author, both Della and Jim gave the wisest gifts of all. The couple had shown that they would sacrificed their own only valuable possession for the other. This selfless love for each other is what makes the gifts valuable because that's what it represents.


Assessment (Cameron)

    1. What is situational irony? .
    2. What is the most obvious situational irony in the story?
    3. How does the author use situational irony to make the story better?