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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry

Sacrifice Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. (10)

Della's not unaffected by her plan. She's nervous about it, and she sheds a couple of tears. In spite of her love for Jim, losing her hair isn't easy for her, since she's so fond of it. This is really the only indication in the story we get of that. Is she still considering what to do at this point, or has she already made up her mind?

Quote #5

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street. (11)

Again we get an indication (with her whirling, and sparkling eyes) that Della is more excited at the thought of sacrificing her hair than down in the dumps about it. This is also the point in the text where it's clear that Della's made the decision to go through with the plan.

Quote #6

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically (21)

Della's not only lost the single valuable thing she had to sell, and the thing of which she was most proud. She's actually affected her own looks, and potentially made herself unattractive to Jim. Does that make her sacrifice perhaps a greater one than Jim's?

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