TABLE OF CONTENTS
MEET THE WRITER
ACTIVITIES & OUTCOME
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Meet the writer
William Sydney Porter
Pen name: O. Hendry, Olivier Henry, Oliver Henry
Born: September 11, 1862, Greensboro North Carolina, USA
Died: June 5, 1910 (47 yrs. Old)
Style: known for his wit, wordplay, warm characterization,
and clever twist endings.
The Magi referred to in the title of this story are the three “wise men”
who, according to the Bible (Matthew 2:1–13), brought gifts of
frankincense and myrrh (substances prized for their fragrance) as well
as gold to the infant Jesus. Traditionally the Magi’s gifts are regarded as
the first Christmas presents.
• Della- a loving, warm, selfless, and devoted woman to her husband.
• Jim- he is the husband of Della who works long hours but the salary is low.
• Madame Sofronie- the owner of a hair shop where Della sold her hair.
DELLA IS MARRIED TO JIM AND THEY LIVE IN A SHABBY FLAT HOUSE. THEY WERE
POOR BUT THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. IT IS CHRISTMAS TIME AND SHE WANTS TO
GIVE JIM A NICE CHRISTMAS GIFT BUT SHE ONLY HAVE $1.87 SHE DOES NOT HAVE
MUCH MONEY. WHEN SHE SEES HERSELF IN THE MIRROR, SHE FOUND A SOLUTION.
DELLA GOES TO MADAME SOFRANIE’S STORE AND SELLS HER BEAUTIFUL HAIR
FOR $20. WITH HER NEW FUNDS, DELLA IS ABLE TO FIND JIM THE PERFECT
PRESENT: AN ELEGANT PLATINUM WATCH CHAIN COSTS $21. WHEN DELLA GOT
HOME SHE PREPARES DINNER. JIM ARRIVES HOME AND STARES FIXEDLY AT HER
THEN FOUND OUT THAT DELLA’S HAIR WAS GONE. AFTER A WHILE JIM GIVES HER A
GIFT, THE GIFT IS A FANCY COMBS SHE’S WANTED FOR A LONG TIME BUT NOW IT
HAS NO USE FOR HER. JIM TELLS HER THAT HE SOLD HIS WATCH TO PAY FOR HER
CHRISTMAS GIFT. THEN DELLA GIVES HIM HER PRESENT, A WATCH CHAIN. JIM
TOLD DELLA TO PUT AWAY THEIR PRESENTS TO HAVE THEIR DINNER.
Activities & outcome
Activity 1: Answers the following questions by your own.
1. What did Della want to buy for her husband for Christmas? How much
money did she have to start with?
2. Where does Della work? Give the reference that’s made in the story.
3. What did Jim buy for his wife for Christmas?
4. What decision did she make that caused her to feel happy? Do you agree with her?
5. What do we learn about the relationship between Della and Jim? Do they
love each other still after the events of the story?
Jim’s middle name, Dillingham, on
the mailbox (p. 123)
a gray cat walking a gray fence in a
gray backyard (p. 124)
Della selling her hair (p. 125)
the watch chain Della buys Jim
Activity 2: Directions List and explain other symbols in the story. Start with the symbols below. Add any additional
symbols you find during reading. Remember that a symbol can be any person, place, object, or experience that
represents something else.
Activity 3: Directions Map the problems and solutions in “The Gift of the Magi” on the diagram
below. Two problems have already been filled in.
Problem: Della doesn’t have
enough money to buy Jim a
present for Christmas.
Problem: Jim doesn’t have
enough money to buy D
present for Christmas
1. Her solution:
2. His solution:
3. Their new problem: _______________________________________
4. Their new solution:
Activity 4: Use the chart below to explain situational irony in 'The Gift of the Magi:' For each
character, identify what is expected to happen and what actually happens.