The Gift of the Magi Summary Theme Questions Answers

The Gift of the Magi Summary Theme Questions Answers 

The short story, "The Gift of the Magi" teaches us a lesson of wider significance. True and selfless love always involves self-sacrifice. The gifts are the tokens of sincere love. The theme of The Gift of the Magi is true and sincere love which prompts a lover and his beloved to sacrifice their most valuable possession unhesitatingly without any practical consideration.

The Gift of the Magi Summary Theme Questions Answers

The Gift of the Magi Summary

Jim and Della were a loving couple who lived in poorly furnished flat at the rent of $8 a week. They were very much stricken by poverty. Jim's income fell down from $30 to $20 a week. To give a fine gift to Jim, Della her wife saved one dollar and eighty-seven cents by bargaining very hard with the grocer, the butcher and the vegetable seller. But unfortunately, the money she managed to save was of no avail because with the money she would not be able to buy a suitable present for her husband. She hit upon a plan. She sold her beautiful long hair of which she was very proud. She sold her hair for twenty dollars. Ransacking the stores, she found a platinum fob chain which she thought to be most suitable for her husband. She remembered that Jim was ashamed to bring out his gold watch because the watch had an old leather straps. Della, however, bought the platinum fob chain for twenty one dollars and returned home. Jim came back home with a package containing a set if beautiful combs made of pure tortoise shell. It was bought by Jim for Della. They were very much coveted by Della. But because of the paucity of money, she did not acquire them. Jim bought them by selling his gold watch. On the other hand, Della bought the platinum fob chain by selling her beautiful hair. In the end, both the gifts were rendered useless because Della had not enough hair to use the combs and because Jim had no gold watch. Worldly wise men might think that they were foolish. But they were not really foolish. They were wise. They were Magi. Their gifts were inspired by genuine and unalloyed love. 

Click the Play below for The Gift of the Magi Story in Brief 

The Gift of the Magi Theme 

The Gift of the Magi has beautiful theme of sincere love and sacrifice. The story teaches us a lesson of wider significance. Theme of the story which is true love always involves self-sacrifice. Here the gifts are shown as the tokens of love. It is true and sincere love which prompts a lover and his beloved to sacrifice their most valuable possessions unhesitatingly and without any practical consideration or thought of benefit of any kind. Their gifts, as they are the tokens of sincere and genuine love, must not be judged in terms of their material value or practical utility. They must be judged in terms of the affection and love. The story is a classic example of the true of Jim and Della. True love is love for the love's sake. Though the couple was poverty-stricken but they are rich in love. It is true love which makes the lovers overcome the difficulties which stand in the way.

The Gift of the Magi Title Analysis 

The magi in the title of the short story are both the three wise men of the East who brought the three valuable gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant, Jesus. The three wise men who hailed from the East introduced the art of giving Christmas gifts. In the story, Jim and Della, the loving couple also gave each other the Christmas gifts. The gifts of the three wise men of the East were inspired by awe and deep reverence but the gifts of the couple involved self sacrifice and selfless true and sincere love. The loving couple out of true love for each other sacrificed their most valued treasures for nothing. From the point of view of selfless love and sacrifice, they were truly wise. From the material point of view, the three wise men are wise. Thus the title is meaningful and significant and reflects the glorification of selfless love and sacrifice. In the title, we find the singular noun 'gift' instead of 'gifts'. It is very striking. This clearly evinces that the number of gifts and the monetary value of them do not matter at all. It is the giving of gifts that counts much. The title implicitly points to the comparison between the so-called Magi and real Magi.

The Gift of the Magi Questions Answers 

1. Describe the flat in which Jim and Della lived?

Ans: Jim and Della lived in a poorly furnished flat at the rent of eight dollars a week in the upper storey of a house. There was a worn out couch and a red carpet. There was a pier-glass in the flat. The letter box attached to it was unusable. The electric bell was out of order. All these strongly indicate their poor condition. 

2. Describe the character of Della. 

Ans: Della is the wife of Jim. She is young and her beautiful brown hair makes her fair and even fairer than the queen of Sheba. She loves her husband very much. As a housewife, she manages the expenses of house and even she saves money by bargaining with grocer and vegetable sellers. Her love for ornaments reveals her feminine quality. Above all, she knows the true meaning of love which inspires her to sacrifice even her valuable possession. 

3. Sketch the character of Jim.

Ans: Jim is the nick name of James Dillingham young. He is a man of twenty-two. He is meek, quiet and sensitive man who is under pressure for maintaining his family well. He is always punctuate. Above all, he is a loving husband and true lover. 

4. Why are Jim and Della called Magi?

Ans: The magi are the members of priesthood of ancient Persia. They brought gifts to new born Christ. But later people forget the significance of lesson of love in giving presents. But Jim and Della sacrifice themselves at the dictate of love. So they are called the magi or wise people who realise the heavenly bliss of love on the earth.

5. What were the two possessions of Jim and Della?

Ans: The two possessions were Jim's gold watch and Della's beautiful long copious hair of brown colour. They took a mighty pride because Jim's gold watch was a family inheritance from his father and his grandfather and Della's hair was a rare possession. 

6. How did the author show the pride of Della's possession?

Ans: Jim and Della, a loving couple took pride on their two most valuable possessions. Della had a long beautiful rippling hair. It was so long that it seemed to be a garment for her. The author resorts to the reference of queen of Sheba to show the intensity of the pride in Della's possession. If the queen of Sheba had lived in a flat opposite to Della's and seen her dry hair hanging out of the window, she would have been very much envious of her.

7. How did the author illustrate Jim's pride in his possession?

Ans: Jim had a gold watch which he received by inheritance from his father and his grandfather. The author had used the reference of King Solomon to show the pride in Jim's gold watch. If the immensely affluent King Solomon had been the janitor of the gate-keeper of Jim's house and if Jim had brought out his gold watch to read the time, the king would have been jealous because the king had no such valuable gift like Jim. 

8. How many times did Della count the amount of money she saved?

Ans: By hard bargaining, Della succeeded in saving one dollar and eighty-seven cents. She counted the money three times. She thought that probably she was wrong in counting the money. As the money she saved bit by bit fell short of her expectation, she counted it many times. She expected that it might increase. Here Della was hoping against hope.

9. How did Della feel after she cut her long hair?

Ans: Della saved one dollar and eighty-seven cents bit by bit by bargaining hard against grocer and vegetable sellers. But this amount did not fall to her expectation to buy a nice gift for her husband, Jim. So she sold her beautiful hair and bought a platinum fob chain for Jim's gold watch. But now her new look with short hair troubled her as she looked more like a traunt school boy. Della was really worried thinking that Jim might be critical of her appearance. 

10. What did Della do after reaching home?

Ans: Once reaching home, Della got out her curling iron and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the damaged hair. After forty minutes of hard work, she looked wonderfully like a traunt school boy with tiny, close-lying curls on her head. At 7 O' clock, she made coffee and got the frying pan ready to cook chops.

11. What was Jim's reaction when he saw Della with her new look?

Ans: It looked as if bolt from blue to Jim for a moment when he found Della without her long beautiful hair. His eyes were fixed upon Della but the expression of his eyes was unintelligible to her. It made her more panicky. It terrified her more than she expected. The expression had no anger, surprise, disapproval, horror, nor any of the sentiments that Della had been prepared for. Jim simply stared at her fixedly with a peculiar expression on his face.

12. What is the story of The Gift of the Magi about?

Ans: The story of The Gift of the Magi is about the most heavenly pure thing of love. Through the supreme virtue of love, a loving couple does not even hesitate to sacrifice their valuable possession for each other. In the story, a humble couple like Jim and Della could be raised to the level of the Magi in respect of their gifts for each other. At the dictate of love they appear to be the wisest men.

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