The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry
The Gift of the Magi Sacrifice Quotes
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"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?" (22)
What seems to be hard for Della about the sacrifice she made is not that she misses her hair, but that she's worried about how she'll appear to Jim. Even in this regard, her thoughts are primarily on him.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on." (44)
Jim reveals here that he's made the same sacrifice as Della. Just like her, he doesn't seem to be terribly troubled by the sacrifice itself, nor even at its unexpected results. He just appears calm and happy.
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. (45)
The narrator weighs in here with his final pronouncement on Jim and Della's sacrifice. He first calls it foolish. Why? Perhaps it's "foolish" because we often call things "foolish" which are against our own self-interest, and Jim and Della's actions were certainly that. Perhaps also it was foolish to give up something so special and personal – the watch was a family heirloom, the hair was a part of Della herself (they were "the treasures of the house") – to buy something more generic (neither of the things they bought had any intrinsic connection to Jim or Della).