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"The Gift of the Magi" is a 1906 short story by O. Henry, where a poor couple has little more than each other. The woman sells her beautiful hair to a wigmaker to buy a chain for her man's heirloom watch. On Christmas day, she discovers that he has sold his watch to buy her combs for her hair. The original story can be found here.
This story has become one of the all-time classic Christmas stories, and with good reason. Also frequently used to teach Dramatic Irony. A popular source for Whole-Plot Reference; see "Gift of the Magi" Plot.
Provides Examples Of:
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": To be fair, there's not that much else to the story (though it's still beautifully written).
- "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Trope Namer, and Trope Maker.
- Happily Married: The whole point of the story.
- Important Haircut
- Irony: What they did for their gifts.
- Knight in Sour Armor: The narrator. Gets hilariously snarky at points, but towards the end especially shows a deep idealism towards the two "foolish children."
- Long Hair Is Feminine: Della is worried that her hair, once cut short, will look like a Coney Island chorus girl.
- Memento MacGuffin: Jim's watch.
- Mixed Metaphor: At one point the narrator says "the next hour tripped by on rosy wings," then asks the reader to forget the mixed metaphor.
- Rapunzel Hair: Della's hair grows very fast, and it reaches to about her ankles.
- Shaking Her Hair Loose: Della is said to have hair right down to her waist but keeps it pinned up all the time. She lets it down dramatically just before it gets cut off.
- True Meaning of Christmas: You betcha.
- Twist Ending