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January 22, 2013

The Irony of Gift-Giving in O'Henry's "Magi"


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Class,

In the comment box below,

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

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Posted by lhobbs at January 22, 2013 11:56 AM

Readers' Comments:

Jose Garcia
Dr. Hobbs
English 122 CA04 Academic Writing II
19th, February 2013
Question:
14. Is Della consistent in her actions? Is she a fully developed character? How? Why?

Answer:
14. Della is described in the story as a static character, she has compassion, love, and a will to please her husband on Christmas as expressed by the short story. Della seems to be a developing character, since she sells what is described as her prized possession, her hair, in order to afford a gift good enough for her husband. After selling her hair to afford Jim’s present, she finds a thoughtful, useful chain to replace the worn leather strap of his prized possession, his watch. Once home Della fixes her hair the best she could, unfortunately after the 40 minutes of doing it the end result was “close-lying curls” that resembles a truant schoolboy. She looks at herself in the mirror, critical on her look she thinks Jim will not accept her but what could she have done with a dollar eighty-seven. Her fear for what Jim might think of her has her anxious and skeptical. When Jim finally comes home he is shocked by what he sees, only to be bombarded with explanations and sweetness by Della. Jim says for 10 seconds can we ignore the unimportant objects in the room and to do away with any minor comments. Jim puts her present on the table, and once opened a feminine cry follows, it’s a comb for her once beautiful. Then Della gives Jim his present only to hear silence, he says to put the presents away for the future because the treasures that they each cherished were sold in order to appreciate each other.

Posted by: Jose Garcia at February 19, 2013 01:23 PM

Chris Lavie
Dr Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
19 February 2013

QUESTION 9: What is important about the title?

ANSWER: The title of this short story is “The gift of the Magi”. In this story the two main characters look really poor. But they love each other. Each of them sale his most precious treasure to buy to the other a nice gift for Christmas. The Magi brought golden, myrrh, and incense to child Jesus. They gave what they had the most precious without expecting something in return. Both main characters did exactly the same thing for each other; page 25:” And here I have […] two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house”.

Posted by: Chris Lavie at February 19, 2013 03:01 PM

Adrianna Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Girft of the Magi
19 February 2013

Question: Be sure you understand the word “alliteration.”. The phrase “Sudden serious sweetness” is an example of alliteration in the story. An example of a simile is “Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail.” How do these figures of speech to enhance his narrative? Can you find anymore?

Answer:Without alliteration and simile the short story out not make much sense. O. Henry uses many alliteration and simile in his stories. Alliteration is The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. O. Henry uses this when he talks about Della’s hair “Della would have let her hair hang out the window someday to dry to depreciate.” (O. Henry, 18) A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind. In this short story simile is used a lot but an example that I found was when the author was describing Della’s beautiful hair “So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters” (O. Henry, 19) These two figure of speech play an important role in this short story.

Posted by: Adrianna Johnson at February 19, 2013 04:15 PM

Jazmine Dixon
Dr.Hobbs
English 122 CA04 The Gift of the Magi
19 Feb 2013

Question: What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?

Answer: One major theme in The Gift of the Magi is selflessness. The women cut her hair which is her favorite feature and he sells his inherited watch to but her brand new combs she was window shopping for. They both sacrificed what mattered the most to each of them to make each other happy, this shows selflessness. The characters are both very loving and sweet and work hard to please each other.

Posted by: Jazmine Dixon at February 19, 2013 09:14 PM

Jacob Gates
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA02 Academic Writing II
20th of February 2013

Question: “The age-old adage “It’s the thought that counts” is often quoted when something is given that may not quite measure up to the expectation. Does this adage apply in the case of Jim and Della and their gift giving? If so, how? If not, why not?”

Answer: The phrase “It’s the thought that counts” does certainly apply to Jim and Della, but not necessarily in the same way it applies to a normal situation where the phrase might be implemented. In a normal circumstance, the phrase might refer to someone getting something intentionally useless or cheap for another person, and that person being disappointed accordingly. However, in “Gift of The Magi” we see that the brushes and watch chain were purchased with entirely pure and self-less intentions, and upon discovering the inadequacy of their gifts, they still recognize the sacrifice they each put into gifts. Which, in turn, references back to the meaning of the title of the story; the magi’s gifts, though worth a great deal, were absolutely superfluous to the one receiving them.

Posted by: Jacob Gates at February 20, 2013 02:39 AM

Briyana Aiken
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 The Gift of the Magi
20 February 2013
Question: Do you find the characters likable? Would you want to meet the characters?
I feel like Della loves her husband very much. In the begging, she is sad because she only has $1.87 in which to buy her husband a gift. I feel like she should make him something out of her heart. I feel like she is a typical woman. taking care of the house,and her family. If her husband knows she doesn't have a lot of money, he shouldn't expect anything from a store. Personally, I would love to meet all the characters.

Posted by: Briyana Aiken at February 20, 2013 10:23 AM

Jordan Miller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
20 Feb 2013

Question 23: Often those who receive gifts are unaware of the sacrifice that the giver makes in order to give gifts. What can we learn from Jim and Della about receiving gifts, about giving gifts?
Answer: Jim and Della did love each other very much, they each knew what was the most important to each other; Della with her gorgeous long hair, and Jim with his Grandfathers watch. But due to the fact that they couldn’t afford a nice gift, they had to sell what was most important to each other. Della sold her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch and Jim sold his watch to buy her some combs (Henry, 24). They each sold what was precious to them, to get something precious for the other person. It just goes to show that people will sacrifice the things that are close to them, for the people they love the most.

Posted by: Jordan Miller at February 20, 2013 10:49 AM

Christopher Burke
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing

I believe the saying "Its better to give than recieve." Would fit in this situation. With jim selling his watch and Della's hair sold they were willing to do anything to give a great gift for their love.The Items given up to gain the possesion of the gift they woulld give each other was there only possesions with monetary value. So one could say that they wanted to give each other a gift with each other in mind and was a selfless thought.

Posted by: Christopher Burke at February 20, 2013 10:54 AM

Allison Knipe
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08
19 February 2013

Question: 6. How was the act that each character did selfless?

Answer: The characters’ acts were selfless because they sold their favorite things in order for the other person to be happy. However, the gifts they got each other had to do with their favorite things that they both sold. “But in a last word to the wise of these days lets it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the wisest.” (Henry 25)

Posted by: Allison Knipe at February 20, 2013 11:04 AM

Habib Balde
2/19/2013
Dr Hobbs
English 122 CA04

Question 23: Often those who receive gifts are unaware of the sacrifice that the giver makes in order to give gifts. What can we learn from Jim and Della about receiving gifts? About giving gifts?
Answer: From this short story I believe that the author wanted to spread the idea that gifts from the heart and that gift from the heart are more valuable than gifts just brought. From this story Jim sold his grandfather’s watch to buy this wife a present while Della cut her beautiful hair to buy him a chain for his watch. The moral of the story is that you make sacrifices for the ones you love.

Posted by: Habib Balde at February 20, 2013 11:34 AM

Marie Ryan
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA 08
Feb 20, 2013

5) Why was Della worried that Jim wouldn't like her with short hair? Do you think that sentiment was common for the time period?

A: Della was worried that Jim wouldn't like her with short hair because it was one of their most prized possessions. On page 28 in the third paragraph it says "Now, there two possessions of James Dilingham Young in which they both took great pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair." From the way the rest of the story goes i would conclude that that is a common sentiment of that time period.

Posted by: Marie Ryan at February 20, 2013 11:36 AM

Sade Loiseau
Dr. Hobbs
20 February 2013
Eng 122

Question 1: Why did Della feel that a gift bought with only $1.87 wasn’t good enough for Jim?


Answer: Della had been saving money up for a while so that she can buy Jim a gift. A gift that meant something to him; something expense, worth buying. Della came to conclusion that she only had $1.87. She was sad and upset. She wanted to Jim to know how she really felt. She been saving from bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher…(page 16). Until she counted what she had and it was one day away from Christmas. She felt that she couldn’t get Jim a gift for $1.87 because she has been planning something nice for him; she wanted something fine and rare (page 17).

Posted by: Sade Loiseau at February 20, 2013 12:12 PM

Jade Lowe
Dr.Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08
20 February 2013

Question: What clues does the author give us to indicate that Della is going to cut her hair and sell it?

Answer: According to the author, Della is wondering what she is going to buy her husband for Christmas with only $1.87. On page 19, Della stops to read the sign: "Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." Della walks in and asks Madame Sofronie will she buy her hair. Madame Sofronie offers her twenty dollars for her hair. This will leave her with more than enough money to buy her husband the perfect gift.

Posted by: Jade Lowe at February 20, 2013 03:54 PM

Ana DeMaio
Professor Hobbs
Academic Writing
February 20, 2013

Question: Several passages in the story give subtle clues about the kind of person Jim is. Identify three passages and explain what they tell the reader about them.
Answer: There are many examples in this story which show Jims character. We get a view of his character by “knowing” his wife`s thoughts. The first statement describing his character is, “Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim. It shows that he is an honorable man and that she appreciates who he is.” The next statement about Jim is, “As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. quietness and value—the description applied to both.” This also speaks to Jim character. The reader can infer that his is a quiet man but meaningful with what he does. She appreciates and admires this about him. The last quote which describes him is, “Jim was never late.” This lets the reader know that Jim is a dependable and trustworthy man.

Posted by: Ana DeMaio at February 21, 2013 02:30 AM

Analisa Johnson
Dr.Hobbs
Eng 122-CA 08
21 Feb 2013

Question: Why did Della feel it was important for Jim's watch to have a nice chain?

Answer: It was like him, it had quietness and value. With that chain on his watch, Jim might actually be anxious about the time. Jim could use the chain instead of the leather strap that he used instead (Henry, 20).

Posted by: Analisa Johnson at February 21, 2013 12:31 PM

Angie Fortunak
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA08
21 February 2013

Question: How did Jim hide his disappointment when he saw Della's hair?

Answer: Jim and Della have two prized possessions one is the watch and one is Della's Hair. When Jim notices that Della's hair is cut off "You've cut of your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labour"(22). Jim tried to make it as if he didn't notice it at all and he asks questions over and over to get to the point that her hair is gone. "He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction" (23). Jim plays off that it is not a big deal and helps to assure Della of it at the same time.

Posted by: Angie Fortunak at February 21, 2013 03:49 PM

Anthony Jannetta
Dr. Hobbs
Eng122 CA04
22 February 2013

Question: How did Della and Jim make the most of the situation?

Answer: Even if they gave each other presents which aren’t useful for the moment (Jim gave her an assortment of hair accessories whereas she has no hair; and Della gave him a chain for his watch whereas he has no watch), they show each other that they are ready to do everything to please the one they love: “I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house” (Henry, 25).

Posted by: Anthony Jannetta at February 21, 2013 08:12 PM

Lauren Irish
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA04
21 February 2013

Question: 3. Why did Della feel it was important for Jim’s watch to have a nice chain?

Answer: The chain is a sense of security for the watch so someone doesn't steal it. It was also important for the watch to have a nice chain because it is a sign of wealth especially if it's gold.

Posted by: Lauren Irish at February 21, 2013 08:14 PM

Jennifer Evans
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 Gift of the Magi
21 February 2013

Question: Henry refers to the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon in Paragraph 8. Who were they?

Answer: The queen of Sheba is a monarch of the ancient kingdom of Sheba.
King Solomon was the king of Israel; Known for his wisdom, wealth, and writings
" Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across from the air shaft..... Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all of his treasures piled high in the basement" (Henry 18)

Posted by: Jennifer Evans at February 21, 2013 11:06 PM

Brynn Laverdure
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08
February 21. 2013

Question: O.Henry suggests that the characters are both wise and unwise. Explain.

Answer: They are wise because they are willing to give up "possessions" for the ones they love. They are unwise because they gave up some of their most prized possession to buy material things to make the other happy, when they already knew how much the other cared for them. In the story when they describe how the characters feel about their favorite items they say, "Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy"(O. Henry 18).

Posted by: Brynn Laverdure at February 21, 2013 11:36 PM

Marquisa Turner
ENG 122-CA04 Academic Writing II
Dr. Hobbs
21 February 2013

Question: How does O.Henry reveal character in "The Gift of the Magi"?

Answer: He reveals character through their actions. We really don’t get the full description of character until the end of the story. In the quote “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 treasure 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. Henry 25) shows how the characters were revealed. It shows how they were both wise and unwise for their decision. They were wise because they sacrificed for the one that they love and were unwise to sacrifice the only valuable things they own.

Posted by: Marquisa Turner at February 22, 2013 02:07 AM

Marlie Gonzalez
Dr.Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic writing II
22 February 2012

Question:what is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose meaningful?

Answer: The central/ primary purpose of the story is that it doesn't matter what you get someone as long as they know that you were thinking of them and you did whatever you could so they could have that.It can be very meaningful because sometimes when people want to buy gifts for someone the first thing that comes to mind is money and if there is enough. but it is really the thought that counts and you see that in the story.

Posted by: Marlie Gonzalez at February 22, 2013 09:30 AM

Rebecca Liller
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
14 October 2013

Question: Do you find the characters likable? Would you want to meet the characters?

Answer: In the story, I do find the characters likable. This is because both of these characters gave up so much just to give their loved ones a gift. Della cut her hair to buy her husband a wonderful gift, and her husband sold his watch to give Della the combs she has always wanted. Even though Della cut off all of her hair, her husband still admired the fact that she is beautiful even without the long hair, but feels bad because the combs is something she has always wanted. However, she keeps telling her husband that her hair will grow back, but her husband does not care about that. He thinks she is still great either way. Even when Della presents her expensive gift to him, all he cares about is spending Christmas with her, and that the material objects do not matter. These two people are so caring and giving to one another, that I feel anyone can learn from these two. I would like to meet these characters because in real life, I feel like they would be so kind and generous and would do anything to have each other by their side. This is something I feel society should follow, and these two are great role models of selfless human beings.

Posted by: Rebecca Liller at October 14, 2013 03:07 PM

Michael Ossolinski
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA08
14 October 2013

Question: How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else?

Answer: the setting is essential because its Christmas time and whenever you think of Christmas you think of stored and presents as well as being at home with the people you love; No the setting for this story was just right

Proof: "Oh" p.19 to "out" p.20

"Jim" p.21 to "him" p.22

Posted by: Michael Ossolinski at October 14, 2013 04:40 PM

Madison Owens
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA08
15 October 2013

Question #21: "Jim and Della each made a selfless-sacrifice of something of great personal value in order to be able to secure for the other something they felt worthy of being called a gift. What role does selfless-sacrifice play in giving in general? Would you praise or blame Jim and Della's selfless-sacrifice?"

Answer: Selfless-sacrifice plays a huge role when it comes to giving. You have to be willing to give up or do anything without expecting anything in return. That is the point of giving. If we always gave with the intent to benefit in some way, then the world would just be a greedy place. I praise Jim and Della for the selfless-sacrifices they made for each other. Della says, "[. . .] a present for Jim [. . .] Something fine and rare and sterling - something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim" (Henry 17). They both clearly want the other to be happy, even though they don't have near the expenses or lifestyle to be able to provide such happiness on Christmas. The selfless-sacrifices that this couple made shows the love they share and their longing to have a happy family.

Posted by: Madison Owens at October 15, 2013 10:45 PM

Ti’rani Rye
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
11 October 2013
Question: What are some symbols in “The Gift of the Magi?” How do they relate to the plot and characters?
Answer: The hair and the watch both are symbols that represent the characters. The long beautiful hair represents the wife and the gold watch represents the husband. They relate because they objects are both prized possessions of the characters that they sell so they can use the money to buy the other a gift.

Posted by: Ti'rani Rye at October 16, 2013 10:58 AM

Kiara Michelle Burgos Diaz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
16 October 2013

Question: What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?

Answer: The central purpose of the story “The gift of the Magi” from O. Henry, is about the true meaning of Christmas. According to the story, The Magi, were wise man who brought gift to someone in a thoughtful way, this establish when the mention, “They invented the art of giving Christmas present. Being wise, their gift were no doubt wise ones,” (O. Henry 25). In contrary, the author relate a story about two persons that were in the search for the perfect gift to give away in Christmas. Both of the protagonist makes some kind of sacrifices of their possession in order to please the other with something new. What they did not know is that making sacrifices about who defines them, were changing the whole meaning of the Magi and the wise gift. Although the way these two exchanged gifts was not wisely, both discovered that what really matters was having each other, “Dell, said he, let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep’em a while” (O. Henry 24-25). The authors conclude with this appreciation by saying, “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” (O. Henry 25).

Posted by: Kiara M Burgos Diaz at October 16, 2013 11:15 AM

Kiara Michelle Burgos Diaz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
16 October 2013

Question: What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?

Answer: The central purpose of the story “The gift of the Magi” from O. Henry, is about the true meaning of Christmas. According to the story, The Magi, were wise man who brought gift to someone in a thoughtful way, this establish when the mention, “They invented the art of giving Christmas present. Being wise, their gift were no doubt wise ones,” (O. Henry 25). In contrary, the author relate a story about two persons that were in the search for the perfect gift to give away in Christmas. Both of the protagonist makes some kind of sacrifices of their possession in order to please the other with something new. What they did not know is that making sacrifices about who defines them, were changing the whole meaning of the Magi and the wise gift. Although the way these two exchanged gifts was not wisely, both discovered that what really matters was having each other, “Dell, said he, let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep’em a while” (O. Henry 24-25). The authors conclude with this appreciation by saying, “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” (O. Henry 25).

Posted by: Kiara M Burgos Diaz at October 16, 2013 11:16 AM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
16 October 2013

Question #24: An implied paradox in the story is that Della and Jim Young are both poor and rich—poor in material things but rich in love. Explain how a related figure of speech, irony, plays a role in the story.

Answer: In the story, the reader learns that the the main characters, Della and Jim Young, have items “in which they both took a mighty pride” (O’Henry 18). Each of these characters actually ends up selling their beautiful items in order to buy a grand gift for the other character. The irony is revealed when the reader finds out that the grand gifts require the ownership of the items the two have already sold. Jim Young has bought his wife combs, but she has cut off her hair and sold it(O’Henry 23). Therefore, she does not have use for the combs. Also, Della buys Jim a “platinum fob chain” for his watch, using the money she receives from selling her hair(O’Henry 20). However, Henry has sold the watch in order to pay for the combs he has bought for Della, so he does not have use for the chain(O’Henry 25). They both obviously love each other enough to sell their prized items for the other's benefit. The narrator even says of Della, when talking about her desire to buy a nice present for her husband, "Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him," expressing just how much she wants him to be happy(O'Henry 17).


Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at October 16, 2013 01:09 PM

Luis Martinez
Dr. Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II
16 October 2013

In Gift of the Magi, both main characters give up a prized possession to make their significant other happy. The story takes place during Christmas season and both characters are preoccupied with getting their counterpart the perfect gift. They are so worried about getting the money for a gift that they sell their pride and joy to give a gift of happiness. This speaks worlds of their character, they are selfless and in love. After receiving his present, Jim simply smiles and sits down because he knows that they have both done the same in selling a prized possession to make the other happy. The main characters not talking about the struggle for money or even discussing the sacrifices they had to make reveals a different dimension of love that their relationship has. Neither of them worry about what they sold, as can be interpreted by Jims slick “and now suppose you put the chops on”

Posted by: Luis Martinez at October 16, 2013 01:24 PM

Tyiasha Bailey
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA08
16 October 2013

Question 29: Three times in the story, the narrator mentions the chops that the Young's will be having for dinner. Are the chops significant in any way?

Answer: In the story "The Gift of Magi" the number three is a magical number. There were three wise men who were the three magi, and there were three characters: Della, Jim, and Madame Sophronie who cut Della's hair. Della also counts her money three times, "Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents ( Henry O. 16)." The chops are mentioned three times in the story as well so it is significant because it shows how things in the story connect to the number three.

Posted by: Tyiasha Bailey at October 16, 2013 04:44 PM

Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
17 October 2013

Question #24: An implied paradox in the story is that Della and Jim Young are both poor and rich—poor in material things but rich in love. Explain how a related figure of speech, irony, plays a role in the story.

Answer: In the story, the reader learns that the the main characters, Della and Jim Young, have items “in which they both took a mighty pride” (O'Henry 18). Each of these characters actually ends up selling their beautiful items in order to buy a grand gift for the other character. Della obviously loves her husband enough to sell what is very important to her; the narrator refers to her husband as "Her Jim"(O'Henry 17).Also, the narrator mentions the fact: "Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him"(O'Henry 17). The irony in the story is revealed when the reader finds out that the grand gifts require the ownership of the items the two have already sold(O'Henry 20,23). Jim Young has bought his wife combs, but she has cut off her hair and sold it(O’Henry 23). Therefore, she does not have use for the combs. Also, Della buys Jim a “platinum fob chain” for his watch, using the money she receives from selling her hair(O’Henry 20). However, Henry has sold the watch in order to pay for the combs he has bought for Della, so he does not have use for the chain(O’Henry 25).

Posted by: Emma De Rhodo at October 17, 2013 05:11 PM

Maxx Howarth
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II CA12
4 March 2014

QUESTION #19:
In this story, the first thing that O. Henry makes apparent is that Jim and Della are not people of means; in fact, they seemed to be teetering on the very edge of poverty. Is it the particular time of the year that motivates them, and others like them, to spend beyond their means? Are the expectations of the gift-giving season really as powerful as they appear to be here?

ANSWER:
In my opinion, it is in fact the particular time of year that motivates nearly everyone to spend beyond their means. Throughout the gift-giving season, we hear things such as "It's better to give than to receive," that really nail in this ideal image of going out and spending as much as possible on others, and for what purpose other than conformity? However, it is through stories such as "The Gift of the Magi," do we learn that there can be more value to a gift, other than its price tag.

Posted by: Maxx Howarth at March 4, 2014 01:12 PM

Gabriela Caminero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
4 March 2014

Question:
What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?

Answer:
The central purpose of this story is to show how materialistic items are not as important as the person that you love. Yes both of them bought those gifts for each other however, when there was no use to the gifts at the end and they were still happy shows how material things are not important. The purpose is shown by this quote, “Jim tumbles down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled”( Henry 9).

Posted by: Gabriela Caminero at March 4, 2014 08:38 PM

Bianca T. Smith
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
4 March 2014

Question #23- Often those who receive gifts are unaware of the sacrifice that the giver makes in order to give gifts. What can we learn from Jim and Della about receiving gifts? About giving gifts?

Answer-Jim sells his watch to get the combs for Della and Della sells her hair to get a gold chain for Jim's watch. They both sell the thing they both cherish, but they both can't use the gift that they got for each other. They realize by this that their love for each other is very strong and that they will sacrifice anything for the other to get what they want for them. "Of all that give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest" (o'Henry 11). They are both wise and they show that they can sacrifice anything without any questioning to it.

Posted by: Bianca T. Smith at March 4, 2014 11:47 PM

James Jessop
Dr. B. Lee. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II
4th March 2014

Question #27 – Comment on the meaning of the following sentence in the fifth paragraph of the story: “She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard.”

Answer – I believe the meaning behind this quote is to show how sad Della’s life is at that moment in time. The persistent use of the color grey is used to signify this. Grey is mostly used in literature to create feelings sorrow, and or sadness, which is clearly appropriate in this case as Della is going through struggles, having “only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim” (Henry 2). Della says “life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles pre-dominating” (Henry 2), again setting the scene of a sad, dreary place. Henry is trying to get the reader to feel sorrow towards Della, almost gaining some kind of attachment to her to make the read more interesting.

Posted by: James Jessop at March 5, 2014 12:11 AM

Sarah A Ellis
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
5 March 2014

Question 28:
O. Henry refers to the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon in Paragraph 8. Who were they?

Answer:
Henry mentioned Queen of Sheba and King Solomon in the story. He said that if the “Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the air-shaft, Della would have let her [long] hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts” (Henry 18). This is stating that Della’s hair would diminish the value of The Queen’s fine treasures. Then King Solomon would envy Jim’s watch because the watch is more valuable than all of Solomon’s treasure combined (Henry 18).

Posted by: Sarah Ellis at March 5, 2014 12:46 AM

Sawyer Hand
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
5 March 2014

Question: Several passages in the story gives subtle clues about the kind of person Jim is. Identify at least three passages and explain what they tell the reader about him.

Answer: In "The Gift of the Magi" multiple passages give subtle clues about the kind of person Jim is. The first example of this is in the passage, " Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she has spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling-something just a little bit near to being worth of the honour of being owned by Jim" (Henry 17). This passage shows how much his wife loves him and for the most part shows that he is a good guy. Another example of this is the passage, "As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value-the description applied to both"(Henry 20). This passage shows that he's a humble man that's wife adores him. Another example is the short line, "Jim was never late" (Henry 21). This line in the context of the story shows that he's a good guy that loves his wife too because she waits at home for him and he never makes her wait longer than she's supposed to.

Posted by: sawyer hand at March 5, 2014 01:29 AM


Sergio Velazquez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Eng122 - ACADEMIC WRITING II CA12
3/5/2014

Question 6. How was the act that each character did selfless?

Each character act in spite of there own needs, Magi, has beautiful hair that drips down her shoulder like sweet molasses. Her husband had a priceless watch that was passed down through his family. IN this family, not a lot of valuables are had in there house. Both characters give up what is most precious to them in order to complement what is precious to each other

Posted by: Sergio Velazquez at March 5, 2014 09:52 AM

Shelby Marrero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG Academic Writing II CA12

Question 17:
How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else?

Answer:
The setting could happen anywhere else because in any genre of time there are people that do struggle financially.(Henry 2) In the story The couple both struggle to buy each other the best gift because of finances.

Posted by: Shelby Marrero at March 5, 2014 10:45 AM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at March 6, 2014 08:52 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014


Question #20:
The age-¬‐old adage “It’s the thought that counts “is often quoted when something is given that may not quite measure up to the expectation. Does this adage apply in the case of Jim and Della and their gift giving? If so, how? If not, why?


Answer:
In O. Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi” the adage expressed above most certainly applies to the gifts Della and Jim bought for each other. Later on in the story however this notion of “it’s the thought that counts” becomes ironic. For example, Della decides to “cut and sell” her hair for Jim’s present (Henry 19). Jim “sells his watch” to get Dell her present (25). Both, Della and Jim sold their most prized possessions in order to make Christmas worthwhile for each other. The irony, though, is that Jim’s gift went with the watch he sold, and Della’s gift went with the hair she no longer has. Despite this small setback Jim and Della seem to have enjoyed the gift exchange, even if they cannot readily use their presents.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 26, 2014 04:16 PM

Shelby Rexroth
October 26th, 2014
ENG210 CA02

22) Given the reaction of both Jim and Della concerning the entire situation, do you think these gifts were appreciated? Why or why not? How do you think you would react if you found yourself in a similar situation? What impact do you think this sort of selfless-sacrifice might have on a relationship between a giver and recipient?

According to the reaction of both Jim and Della concerning the situation, I think the gifts were appreciated and it made them realize how far they would go for each other just to give someone they love a gift. If I was in the same situation, I would be appreciative of any gift my husband gave me because it shows that he really loved me and wanted to get me something that he knew I realty wanted and would’ve sold something he loved dearly just to make sure I was happy.

Posted by: Shelby Rexroth at October 26, 2014 07:03 PM

Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014

Question #8:
O Henry suggests that the characters are both wise and unwise. Explain.

Answer:
O. Henry makes the suggestion that both the characters in “Gift of the Magi” are both wise and unwise. O. Henry writes, “Being wise, their gifts (the magi) were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication” to show that the foolish children unwisely sacrificed the greatest treasures in their house for each other. O. Henry is under the impression that because the two gave up the treasures in their life for each other, they were unwise and didn’t allow each other to receive the gift. Opposite of the belief that the foolish children were unwise, O. Henry writes “…that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest” and refers to the couple as the magi. He says this because the couple were not being selfish and thought of one another, they are the wisest and are like the magi who invented the art of giving.

Posted by: Zailet Martinez at October 27, 2014 12:36 AM

Thomas Watson
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014

QUESTION #29: Three times in the story, the narrator mentions the chops that the Youngs will be having for dinner. Are the chops significant in any way?

ANSWER:
To me the chops aren’t very significant to the story, in a sense to the title. However, the chops serve the purpose of being an excuse to get away from an uncomfortable topic among the Youngs. The first time the chops get mentioned Della is preparing them for dinner. The second time the chops are brought up, Della was self-conscious about what Jim thought of her haircut and used the chops to get away from the topic. With proof, “ Be good to me, for it went to you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered, “ she went on with a sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?” (Henry 9). The last time it is brought up, Jim used it to get away from the topic and finally eat. As quoted, “”Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now I suppose you put the chops on.”(Henry 10).

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 27, 2014 11:14 AM

Brianna L Broughton
Dr. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210 CL Love & Desire in Literature
27 October 2014

Gift of the Magi

Question 3: Why did Della feel it was important for Jim’s watch to have a nice chain?

Answer: Della felt it was important for gym to have a nice chain for his watch because it was his most prized possession and it was an equally nice watch. “ Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasure piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.” (Henri pg18).

Posted by: Brianna Broughton at October 27, 2014 12:26 PM

Gabriela Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014

QUESTION:
Several passages in the story gives subtle clue about the kind of person Jim is. Identify at least three passages and explain what they tell the reader about him.


ANSWER:
"It was like him. Quietness and value" (Henry 20).

Explaining how Jim is Quiet, yet is in more importance.

"The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two – and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves" (Henry 25).

Jim's very appearance reflects his poverty, from the worn overcoat and lack of gloves to his thinness and the seriousness on his face. That seriousness probably comes from being overburdened and overly worried.

"It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation – as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value – the description applied to both… Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain" (Henry 19).

This describes Jim, who's simple and unassuming but of great worth. The image of the beautiful watch with the shabby leather strap captures the contrast between Jim's "inner value" and his poor appearance very well.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 27, 2014 02:45 PM

Martin Terrasi
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014

Question: Be sure you understand the word “alliteration.” The phrase “Sudden serious sweetness” is an example of alliteration in the story. An example of a simile is “Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail.” How do these figures of speech to enhance his narrative? Can you find any more?

Answer: these uses of figure of speech help give the reader a more vivid image of what is happening, they help one compare the action to something they already have knowledge about. The description of Jim helps us understand his reaction he has when he comes home and sees her. It does not fully explain the situation out of context; it gives a picture of his physical reaction. There are other times when the reader sees comparisons. “So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shinning like a cascade of brown hair.” (O Henry 19) These all help us get a better mental picture about what is happening in the story.

Posted by: Martin Terrasi at October 27, 2014 03:05 PM

Irma Sera

Dr. B. Lee Hobbs

ENG. 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02

27 October 2014

Question: Henry refers to the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon in Paragraph 8.

Who were they?

Answer: “Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy” (Henry, pg. 18). King Salomon and Queen of Sheba were people mentioned in the Bible. Queen of Sheba was known for her wealth, beauty, and power. King Solomon was also a very wealthy and powerful figure mentioned in the bible. Henry makes the comparison in the story to show the reader how valuable the items, both Jim and Della gave away, were.

Posted by: irma sera at October 28, 2014 01:57 AM

Anthony Colello
Dr. Hobbs
ENG CA02
24 October 2014

Question:
What are some symbols in "The Gift of the Magi"? How do they relate to the plot and characters?

Answer:
Jim's watch represents his time management and business man mentality, always working to support his beloved Della. Della's hair symbolizes her beauty and her level of usefulness to society. A beautiful girl offers little productivity in a business mans world.  

Jim sells his grandfathers watch so that he can afford a gift that he feels is worthy of his beautiful Della. In relation to what his watch represents, it seems that Jim has made a concious effort to give up his time to Della. He buys her hair brushes to show his appreciation for her. 

Della has little to give, she sells her hair so that she can afford a gift that she feels is worthy of her hard working husband. She knows that he loves her hair, however, she sacrifices her beauty to help support Jim. It is also important to note, "You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now" (O. Henery,10). This represents her true desire, her desire for Jims time. The fact that she intends for him to look at his watch so often symbolizes her intent for Jim to be with her.

It is ironic that they both sacrificed the item that their partners gift accented, the irony symbolizes their love and desire for each other, and not the material items that they have sacrificed so much to obtain.

Posted by: Anthony Colello at October 29, 2014 09:50 AM

Rebecca Messano and Allison Ward
ENG 210 Love and Desire in Literature
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
October 29, 2014

Question #5: What core values are in this story? What values are in this story that part of the core values?

Answer:
Integrity- Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. In the story, Della cuts and sells her hair in order to buy gifts for Jim.
Compassion- Compassion is showing love for another person besides yourself. In the story, they both show compassion towards each other by giving something up to buy the other a gift.
The gift of Love- Love is expressing interest and feeling for another person. The fact that Della and Jim gave up so much in order to find "the perfect gift," shows that they truly love each other and would do anything for each other.

Posted by: Rebecca Messano and Allison Ward at October 29, 2014 02:43 PM

Matt Weller
Martin Terassi
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 201CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2014

Question #2:
“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. Who are the protagonists and antagonists of this story? Are they characters or energies? Explain fully.

Answer:
Della is the character that the story follows, and she is one of the protagonists. Another, protagonist in this story is Jim. These two are trying to buy each other Christmas gifts. Della cuts her hair off in order to buy Jim a pocket watch. Jim then sells the pocket watch to buy her fancy combs that she has wanted for a long time. In this story, the antagonists would be money and poverty. The story starts with saying how much money they have to spend. “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all” (Henry 1). This shows that they had very little money and were facing poverty. They both appreciated the gifts that each other got, but they were also sad since they put in time, hair, and effort to buy the gift that the other wanted.

Posted by: Matthew Weller at October 29, 2014 02:47 PM

Thomas Watson, Antonella Aviles
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2014

QUESTION #3: We already know that Love is a theme of this story. What other themes exist? Remember, a theme is a recurring motif (big idea); if it happens only once, it’s not a theme. Explain Fully.

ANSWER:
Selflessness is a theme that lies within this story. The love that both spouses have for one another is shown and is intertwined into that selflessness. Given the fact that they both gave up something of value in order to please the other. Della gave up her long beautiful hair for her husband’s gift, and Jim gave up his prized watch for his wife’s gift. Della states, “I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present”(Henry 8). To continue, Jim also states, “I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs”(Henry 11). Throughout the story, you see that Della is constantly thinking of how she can please Jim and vice versa towards the end of the story.

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 29, 2014 02:54 PM

Gabriela Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2014

QUESTION #2: In William Faulker's short story "A Rose for Emily" (1930), why does Emily stay in Jefferson?

ANSWER:
Emily becomes a lonelier when her father dies, and she is still single. She has absolutely no one left, so she wants to keep him with her, "when her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her" (Faulkner 3). Being in Jefferson also benefited Emily with wealth, all her fathers riches were then given to her.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 29, 2014 03:14 PM

Shelby Rexroth & Brianna Broughton
October 29th, 2014
ENG210


4) “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. What is the chief conflict of this story? First you must note ant and every conflict (there could be several) before you can decide on the main conflict. The main conflict is the one that, if it went away, so would all the others. Frame the conflict as ____ vs. _____ ; eg:. “man vs. man” , “man vs. self”. “man vs. nature”, “man vs. God.” , “Jack vs. Jill.” , “The upper class vs. the lower class.” , “race vs. race.” , “the old vs. the young” ,etc. Think dichotomies! Explain fully. Answer in your own words, but use quoted and cited passages from the text to support your answer.

The chief conflict of the story was “selfishness vs. selflessness”. Both the couple couldn’t afford a gift for each other, so they sacrificed and each sold their most prized possession in order to are able to afford a gift for one another. “Jim would pull out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.” “I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.”

Posted by: Shelby Rexroth at October 29, 2014 03:18 PM

Ahmed Almoailu & Anthony Colello
Dr. Hobbs
ENG210CL
October 29, 2014

Question: “The Gift of Magi” by O. Henry. How is love of “beautiful things” represented in this story, if at all? Think Agathon. Explain Fully. Answer in your own words, but use quoted and cited passages from the text to support your answer.

Answer: The love of beautiful thing is represented in the story in a way that Agathon would depict as extreme dichotomy. The dichotomy in the case of “The Gift of The Magi” would be represented by material and the non-material. So, Jim and Della gave up their material goods in order to obtain other material goods for their significant other. The non-material goods would be represented by the material goods, what this means is that the watchstrap and brushes represent their love and desire for each other. The gifts are not significant in the material way that they are intended. The fact that their gifts were rendered useless by their actions, that attempt to materialize their love for one another, allow them to share the greatest gift of love. “”Jim,darling, don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I could not have lived through Christmas without giving you a present.” (Henry, O “ The Gift of The Magi” page 22)

Posted by: Ahmed Almoailu at October 29, 2014 03:38 PM

Ashjan Alrashid, Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
29 October 2014


Question #6 :
How is commonly love depicted in this story, if at all? How is heavenly love depicted in this story, if at all? Think Phaedrus and Pausanias.

Answer:
The story depicts Della and Jim's heavenly love. Although both loved the things they sold, "Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other”. (O’Henry, 25) Which only shows how much they loved each other. To make each other happy they sold the things they love the most. Which only meant that the love for their thing is commonly love and their love for each other is the most important thing, and if their selfless love is not a heavenly love then I do not know what is.

Posted by: ashjan alrashid at October 29, 2014 06:53 PM

Gabby Navarro & Sharonda Byrd
B. LEE HOBBS
ENG 210CL
29 October 2014
“The Gift of the Magi”
Question 11: How is the love of “Beauty”, with a capital “B”, represented in this story, if at all? Think Socrates and Diotima.
Answer: The love of “Beauty” is represented in the story because although Della and Jim are poor it’s not about the money to them it’s about what’s inside that matters. Della knows that she can’t afford nice things but she cuts her hair in order to buy Jims present, she thinks that in order to have a good Christmas that she needs to buy Jim nice things to come to find that Jim loves her anyway. "Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less.” Jim doesn’t love her because the fact that she went out and cut her hair to get him a chain for his watch, he love what’s inside of her. Jim sold his watch which he took so much pride in because he wanted to make Della happy. “Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling – something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.” In this quote it shows that Della cared and loved Jim a lot and wanted to get him something that is to worth to Jim.

Posted by: sharonda byrd at October 31, 2014 02:29 PM

Irma Sera and Emily Fink
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
27 October 2014


Question #30:
“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. Who are/were the “Magi.” Why is the title of the story significant? Explain fully. Answer in your own words, but use quoted and cited passages from the text to support your answer

Answer:
The original Magi were the three wise men in the book of Matthews, who traveled to come the “King of the Jews,” who they believed was Jesus. The three men brought with them gifts to give to the child, and those three gifts were Myrrh, Gold, and frankincense. The title of the story is significant because, the items that the kings gave as gifts were practical gifts, but also gifts that were precious from the men. In The short story, the “Magi’s” are Della’s delicate, beautiful hair and James watch; which are also precious gifts that each spouse sacrificed to make one another happy. “Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window someday to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy” (Henry, 18). They gave their most prized possession only to satisfy the person they loved.

Posted by: irma sera & Emily Fink at November 2, 2014 01:46 AM

Sharonda S Byrd
B. LEE HOBBS
ENG 210CL
2 November 2014
The Gift of the Magi
Question: #24. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. An implied paradox in the story is that Della and Jim Young are both poor and rich—poor in material things but rich in love. Explain how a related figure of speech, irony, plays a role in the story.
Answer: Irony plays a role in The Gift of the Magi because the gifts that Della and Jim get each other are useless. Delia, who cut her hair cannot use the combs that Jim got her because her hair is too short, “I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on." Della also gives Jim his present which, is a chain for his watch but when Della tells Jim to give her the watch so she can put it on their Jim tells her that he no longer owns the watch. They both sacrificed something they cared about to get each other gifts that they no longer put use in.

Posted by: sharonda byrd at November 3, 2014 02:51 PM

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