As you read in the development of this lesson, an allegory is a special type of symbolism. Commonly an allegory is a rigid that has a second an interpretation below the surface of the story. The external story may definitely entertain the reader, but the author’s key interest is in the ulterior meaning.

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In this section, you will practice examining an allegory by analysis O. Henry’s quick story “The Gift that the Magi.” prior to you start reading, you should recognize that O. Henry uses an ext than one biblical allusion in this story, just as Edgar Allan Poe provides mythological allusions in “The Raven.” O. Henry provides the complying with two recommendations to develop a network the associations and to intensify the impacts of his message:

that alludes to the Queen that Sheba, who is discussed in several holy books. Follow to the Hebrew Bible, the Queen of Sheba travels to Israel to visit its wise king, King Solomon. She takes gifts of spices, yellow (allegedly four and also a fifty percent tons of it!), priceless stones, and beautiful wood v her. Since of these gifts, her name becomes synonymous with good wealth. The magi, or the 3 wise men, are one more biblical allusion. According to Christian beliefs, the magi saw Jesus after ~ his birth, bringing these gifts fit because that a king: gold, frankincense (an incense), and also myrrh (an oil).
To start your analysis, click on the attach to open “The Gift of the Magi” graphic organizer. You deserve to save, download, and also print this file. When you room finished making use of the graphic organizer, return to the lesson. Store in mind the the key characters, Della and Jim, are symbols that represent desirable human qualities. As you check out the story, think around what those qualities might be. Graphic Organizer indict

Now the you’ve finished her reading, let’s look more closely at the story’s meaning. The three wise men, O. Henry tells us in the last i of the story, “invented the arts of giving Christmas presents.” In fact, in part cultures, kids receive Christmas gifts from the magi rather than native Santa Claus.

In the Christian legacy to i m sorry O. Henry alludes in the story, the three wise men are learned majesties who take great risks and travel far to salary homage come an infant, Jesus. They humbly offer symbolic gifts fit because that a king and bow before a baby. One wise male offers gold, a rare and an useful item regularly symbolic that power and sovereignty, and an ideal for who he trust to it is in divine.


Source: MontreGousset001, Isabelle Grosjean, Wikimedia

Did you remember the Jim’s watch is make of gold? Think about Della. She humbles it s her to sell her hair and is may be to acquisition a “platinum fob chain” to change the “old animal leather strap that he provided in ar of a chain.” Platinum is a precious, silvery-white metal, and also the narrator tells united state that Della’s acquisition is “worthy of The Watch.” she gift, favor those of the magi, is very valuable. The two hours Della spends “ransacking the stores” because that a suitable gift for Jim have the right to be compared to the trip the magi in the biblical story make to visit the baby. In cutting her hair, Della risks Jim’s disapproval, just as the magi faced risks and hardships during their lengthy journey.

In the biblical story, the other two magi existing the baby with presents of frankincense (a perfume symbolic of authority and divinity) and also myrrh (a beneficial embalming oil symbolizing eternity). These, too, are gifts fit because that a king. Breed cub (sheep and calves) would have actually been the usual presents in old times.


Source: steel jewellery comb,1700 - 1799, SJ68, Black country Museums, Flickr

Jim sacrifices his yellow watch to give Della a gift fit because that a queen: “Beautiful combs, pure turtle shell, v jewelled rims.” The narrator tells us that Della had actually “worshipped” the “expensive” combs in the store home window and “yearned” for them. The selection of indigenous emphasizes the worth of the gift, together does she “ecstatic scream of joy” top top receiving it.

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Remember, in one allegory, the characters and events space symbols the stand for ideas around human life. Therefore, Della and Jim represent the qualities of wisdom, sacrifice, and also love. Castle heroically offer up the only things they have actually of any type of monetary value out the love for each other. O. Henry watch them as “the wisest” the “all who give gifts.”

Think around O. Henry’s allegory as you price the questions below about “The Gift the the Magi.” come respond, click on one selection for every question.