THE GIFT OF MAGI BY O HENRY: DR. HARESHWAR ROY
O Henry is recognised as one of the representative short story writers of
America. He usually presented an incident from the life in general and he also escapes from the grim realities of life. His stories are brief. They usually open with a conversation. The ending are usually surprising. They are a powerful source of humour. He expresses himself through slang, which add to realism. His verbal energy and metaphors are typically American.
O. Henry is one of the most beloved writers in the world. From Shakespeare he took the art of punning. From Lamb he acquired gentleness, sympathy for the downtrodden, mild irony and pathetic humour. Under the influence of Lamb he acquired the art of word coinage and Latinism in language. As a story writer he punctures the bubble of middle class hypocrisy.
The Gift Of Magi is one of the finest short stories of O. Henry. It is one of those rare stories on which the future reputation of O. Henry finally rests. This is a popular christian story. This is a tale of urban living marked by wry humour and surprise ending.
The plot of this story is typical. Here O. Henry has depicted the lives of urban young couple of
New York. They bear the burden of their poor homely life without any grudge. Both the husband and wife love each other deeply. They remain conscious of each other's wants. They remain ready to sacrifice even the dearest objects of their lives.
On the Christmas day , they offer gifts to each other. The husband sells his gold watch and the wife sells her beautiful hair to buy gifts for each other. They are dearest possessions of their lives. They do not mind parting with their dearest objects for purchasing gifts for each other. They surprise each other and prove that love means sacrifice.
The title of this story is appropriate. The husband and the wife are really magi. Through this story O. Henry proves that love gives one courage to sacrifice. The ironical ending moves the hearts of the readers. The character are real life characters who are too sensitive to each other's want. They give a universal appeal to the story. The use of slang , interesting similes and colloquial words give a conversational flavour to the style.