As you read in the advent of this lesson, an allegory is a special type of symbolism. Typically an allegory is a stare that has actually a second meaning below the surface ar of the story. The outside story may certainly entertain the reader, however the author’s key interest is in the ulterior meaning.

You are watching: Allusion in the gift of the magi

In this section, you will certainly practice evaluating an allegory by reading O. Henry’s quick story “The Gift the the Magi.” prior to you start reading, girlfriend should understand that O. Henry uses an ext than one biblical allusion in this story, simply as Edgar Allan Poe offers mythological allusions in “The Raven.” O. Henry renders the adhering to two referrals to create a network that associations and also to intensify the impacts of his message:

he alludes to the Queen that Sheba, who is mentioned in several holy books. According to the Hebrew Bible, the Queen the Sheba travel to Israel come visit its wise king, King Solomon. She takes presents of spices, gold (allegedly four and a half tons the it!), precious stones, and beautiful wood v her. Since of this gifts, her surname becomes identified with an excellent wealth. The magi, or the 3 wise men, are an additional biblical allusion. According to Christian beliefs, the magi went to Jesus after ~ his birth, bringing these presents fit because that a king: gold, frankincense (an incense), and myrrh (an oil).
To begin your analysis, click on the attach to open “The Gift that the Magi” graphic organizer. You have the right to save, download, and print this file. When you room finished making use of the graphic organizer, return to the lesson. Store in mind that the main characters, Della and Jim, are symbols who represent preferable human qualities. Together you check out the story, think around what those qualities might be. Graphics Organizer accuse

Now the you’ve finished your reading, let’s look more closely at the story’s meaning. The three wise men, O. Henry tells united state in the last paragraph of the story, “invented the arts of providing Christmas presents.” In fact, in part cultures, children receive Christmas gifts from the magi fairly than from Santa Claus.

In the Christian legacy to i m sorry O. Henry alludes in the story, the 3 wise men are learned majesties who take great risks and also travel far to pay homage to an infant, Jesus. They humbly sell symbolic presents fit because that a king and bow before a baby. One wise man offers gold, a rarely and valuable item frequently symbolic of power and sovereignty, and perfect for someone he believes to be divine.


Source: MontreGousset001, Isabelle Grosjean, Wikimedia

Did girlfriend remember the Jim’s clock is made of gold? Think around Della. She humbles herself to market her hair and also is may be to acquisition a “platinum fob chain” to change the “old animal leather strap that he used in place of a chain.” Platinum is a precious, silvery-white metal, and also the narrator tells us that Della’s purchase is “worthy of The Watch.” her gift, favor those that the magi, is exceptionally valuable. The two hours Della safety “ransacking the stores” because that a an ideal gift because that Jim can be contrasted to the expedition the magi in the biblical story make to visit the baby. In cutting she hair, Della threats Jim’s disapproval, simply as the magi faced risks and hardships throughout their long journey.

In the biblical story, the various other two magi current the baby with gifts of frankincense (a perfume symbolic the authority and divinity) and also myrrh (a an useful embalming oil symbolizing eternity). These, too, are presents fit for a king. Breed boy (sheep and calves) would have actually been the usual presents in ancient times.


Source: stole jewellery comb,1700 - 1799, SJ68, Black country Museums, Flickr

Jim sacrifices his gold watch to give Della a gift fit because that a queen: “Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, v jewelled rims.” The narrator tells us that Della had actually “worshipped” the “expensive” combs in the store home window and “yearned” for them. The choice of words emphasizes the value of the gift, together does she “ecstatic scream that joy” top top receiving it.

See more: What Is The Lcm Of 6 And 4, 8, What Is The Lcm Of 6 And 4

Remember, in one allegory, the characters and also events room symbols the stand for ideas about human life. Therefore, Della and Jim represent the qualities of wisdom, sacrifice, and also love. Castle heroically provide up the just things they have of any kind of monetary value out the love for each other. O. Henry sees them together “the wisest” of “all who give gifts.”

Think about O. Henry’s allegory as you prize the inquiries below around “The Gift the the Magi.” to respond, click one choice for every question.