O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”

…achingly real characters,

such love…

”And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house.”

From “The Gift of the Magi” in The Four Million

By O. Henry

Published April 1906

If you’re an O. Henry fan, you know the whole story of Della and Jim, the two foolish children who sold a beloved gold pocket watch and an entrancing fall of brown hair to buy innocently painful Christmas gifts for each other…even if you’re not an O. Henry fan, I’ll bet you know the story.

“The Gift of the Magi” is a signature O. Henry piece, with achingly real characters slip-sliding through lives shackled by just a touch too much hardship and garlanded with magnificently understated and oh-so-richly-expressed love, such love as never recedes or withers….

Mr. and Mrs. James Dillingham Young unselfconsciously give a master class in young love. The reader wants to be one of them despite their shabby flat and the narrow strictures of a tiny income and the endless prospect of a lesser cut of chops frying in the pan on the back of the tiny stove. The single-minded devotion — their profound and profligate endearment — of Jim and Della illuminates the power of O. Henry’s prose, and the delicacy of his imagination.

William Sydney Porter (1862–1910) used his pen name, O. Henry, for his published work. “The Gift of the Magi” was part of The Four Million, his second short story collection, when it appeared 110 years ago. He wrote nearly 300 stories.

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Here’s a new nature poem,

but you might have to squint…

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Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2017 All rights reserved.

My first book of poems, Writing Rainbows: Poems for Grown-Ups with 59 new poems, is for sale on Amazon (paperback and Kindle), or free in Kindle Unlimited, click here

On this website you can read: my poetry in free verse and 5–7–5 format — nature poems, love poems, poems about grandchildren, and a spectrum of other topics — written in a way that makes it possible for you to know, as precisely as possible, what’s going on in my mind and in my imagination; thoughtful book reviews that offer some exceptional critique of the book instead of a simple book summary; examinations of history that did and didn’t happen; examples of my love affair with words; reflections on the quotations, art, and wisdom of famous and not-so-famous people, and occasional comments on politics and human nature.

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Book review:

American Scripture:

Making the Declaration of Independence

…basically, it’s trash talk to King George

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Originally published at Richard Subber.