The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry
The Gift of the Magi Theme of Women and Femininity
The main character of "Gift of the Magi" is a woman named Della. Loveable as she is, at times, Della is hysterical, often overreacting, a characteristic that the narrator identifies as "feminine." Della's complete and single-minded devotion to her husband could raise the question of whether the love in their relationship is between equals or based on a difference in power between the two.
Questions About Women and Femininity
- What makes Della "feminine," according to the story? Is Della presented as an ideal woman, a typical woman, neither?
- In what ways do Della's feminine qualities contrast with Jim's character?
- Is Jim and Della's relationship one of equality? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Della's own sense of femininity is defined by her long hair.