Study Guide

The Gift of the Magi Love

By O. Henry


"Gift of the Magi" is the story of a poor, young couple whose love for each other is the most important thing in their lives. Such is their love that they're led to sacrifice their most valuable possessions to find Christmas gifts for each other. The warm home they make together contrasts with the drabness of their poverty and the dreary world outside. Their love seems to know no bounds, though Della (the wife) worries about how her sacrifice will affect her husband because of how it affects her looks. If ever there were a story with the message that all you need to be happy is love, this is it.

Questions About Love

  1. Before we learn of their sacrifice, what is the evidence in the story that Della and Jim love each other? Can you point to specific passages?
  2. Is Della confident that Jim loves her? Why or why not?
  3. Is Della motivated by anything besides her love for Jim? Does she have any desires besides her desire to please Jim? Is Jim himself the same way?
  4. Are we given any reasons why Della loves Jim so much? Or why Jim loves Della? If so, what are they?

Chew on This

Della is confident that Jim loves her

Della has no motivations besides her love for Jim.