‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry

(book review)

Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.
(O. Henry)

O.Henry’s ‘Gifts of the Magi’ is one of the most inspiring, most touching Christmas stories, set in New York at the beginning of the 20th century. This has been my favourite tale since I was a child – I read it again and again and always get misty-eyed.

This short piece of writing demonstrates the generosity of real feelings. A young married couple, Della and Jim, live in the difficult and bleak era, where “a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray background,” but have the huge wealth – love. Christmas is coming, and each is secretly determined to find the best gift for the other. The sacrifices they make prove pointless, sincere and maybe amusing.

The author overtly refers to the Bible story about Three Wise Men who brought splendid gifts to baby Jesus. However, I’m sure their presents were not important to them, so the gift of Della and Jim is more estimable. “Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. They are the magi.” Besides, using such phenomenon makes the story ‘The gift of Magi’ one of the most illustrious examples of irony in the world literature.

Being fascinated by the plot twists of the narration and by the humor of the writer I can’t but note that story resembles a soap opera. It may seem too sentimental to some readers, who having no taste for such tales.

Such books make us think about how often we prefer material goods to moral ones. The book will be relevant in today’s reality of the corona, when some people do not have the opportunity to meet or buy presents, but can give love to their nearest. I would recommend this heartwarming story for family Christmas reading. Wish you a Merry Christmas spirit with ‘The Gift of the Magi’!

My rating is 10/10.

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