4 Setting and Characters Time: Takes place over a period of two daysSetting: Home in New York city in Avery – a simple decaying apartmentPoint of view: third person limited omniscientCharacters:(1) Jim(the husband)(2) Della(major character)(3) Madam Sofronie: the owner of a hair shop. She contrasts with the couple. She represents the materialistic world that is opposite of the emotional world of the story’s main character
5 Themes 1. Marriage: defined as a partnership between husband and wife. 2. Poverty: there are many expressions in the story “the shabby little couch ““an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring” “the worn red carpet““She saves pennies ““shabby hat and shabby brown jacket”3. Sacrifice: Della sells her hair (part of her body) to buy a watch chain for Jim. However, he, too makes the same sacrifice. Jim sells his heirloom watch to buy combs for her hair
6 SummaryRONYDella and Jim, young and recently married, love each other deeply and have very little money. Della cuts off her beautiful long hair and sells it to a wig maker so that she can buy Jim a Christmas gift-an elegant pocket watch Then she discovers that Jim has sold his watch, his prized possession, to buy a gift for her--a set of elegant combs. The narrator points out that Della and Jim may seem foolish, but they have true wisdom, the wisdom of the Magi (the wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus.
7 Literary Analysis: Irony The Gift of the MagiLiterary Analysis: IronyIrony is a contradiction between appearance and reality—it is the difference between what is expected and what actually happens.In situational irony, something happens in the story that contradicts the expectations of a character or the reader. For example, a runner who trains hard would be expected to do well in a race. It would be ironic if she trained so hard that she overslept and missed the race.A surprise ending often presents a situational irony. The turn of events may be startling, but writers using irony usually build clues into the story that make the ending logical, just the same.
8 Literary Analysis: Irony The Gift of the MagiLiterary Analysis: Irony(a) Identify irony in the story by using a chart like the one shown. In the first box, note the outcome that Jim and Della expect when they present their gifts to each other. In the second box, describe what actually happens.What Characters ExpectWhat Actually Happens(b) Explain the role of irony in this literary work.2. (a) Which details in the story make its surprise ending seem like a logical outcome of events? (b) Why do you think surprise endings are such a popular device in literature and movies?