Explore BrainMass

Themes in "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry

For the story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry, could you help me with the following questions:

A. Describe what the theme of the short story is, using symbolism or allegory and motif
B. Identify at least two of the literary elements in the short story that contribute to the theme (e.g., plot, point of view, tone, setting, character, symbolism, etc.), providing an example of each element.
C. Explain how the selected literary elements affect the narrative theme

Solution Preview

From our interaction so far, it seems like the request is a bit comprehensive. Hopefully this will be enough to help you move along, and I intend it to be that way. Strictly speaking, the stories in your list that I am most familiar with are the ones by Chopin and Henry, and there seems to be quite a bit of relevant information about the stories as well. That said, Gift of The Magi is a bit shorter, so that may work to your benefit if I stick with that one for now. So, I will be touching on that as I can best use it to help demonstrate both ideas and method for you.

The first thing that comes to mind is your concern of how to approach the essay. It seems quite clear that the teacher expects this to be simply answered, more-or-less, with paragraphs for each of the numbered parts of the assignment. It could be organized like an essay, in that the assertion of a theme comes first and then evidence is explained for that theme in the next two paragraphs. But it might be more helpful to approach them as separate questions, especially given what I will say later on. But how do you ...

Solution Summary

The themes for "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry is examined in the solution.