The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry
The Gift of the Magi Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. (8)
Della again seems somewhat over-excitable here. All of her actions are exaggerated – she "whirls" and pulls down her hair "rapidly."
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. (20)
Here, there's the image of an overemotional Della, who has to come down from her soaring feelings and come back to her senses. Then again, "prudence" and "reason" are presumably things she's had to use quite often before, given how carefully she saves money.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. (21)
Della's hair, her one prized possession, is something traditionally characterized as feminine. Now that it's lost, she herself looks less feminine, and more like a boy. She worries that this change will be repulsive to Jim. It's a small detail, but it suggests a larger question. How much does their relationship depend on a clear separation of traditional masculine and feminine roles?