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The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry

Women and Femininity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty." (24)

Della is very worried about how she'll look for Jim, much more than she cares about the loss of her hair for own sake. In her concern with her physical appearance in front of a man, she's also realizing a traditionally "feminine" stereotype.

Quote #8

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. (37)

Another hysterical moment from Della, who moves almost instantly from screaming joy to wild wails. The narrator calls it "feminine." Do you agree with the narrator's assessment, or do you think that such a classification is stereotyping? Note also the contrast with Jim, the "lord of the flat," who plays the role of the levelheaded comforter.

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