Style Given By O’Henry in “The Gift of The Magi”

The Gift of The Magi  Summary

Inroduction: William Sydney porter was an American short story writer. He acquired the pseudonym from a warder called Orrin Henry. Henry published ten collections and over 600 short stories during his life time. He worked as a reporter and a columnist in a local news paper agency.

‘The gift of the Magi’ is a short story of Della and James; husband and wife. They were living in a rental flat. They were so much sincere, faithful and loyal to each other, they sold their possessions to celebrate their Christmas. They are included in the list of the Magi. Magi were the wisest people who presented gifts to the Christ.

 Style used in The Gift of the Magi:


 Irony is a kind of device which is used in literature to increase the value of the work. Irony consists of saying one thing while you mean another. There are several kinds of Irony in the literature. But this story deals with the situational Irony. When their gifts become useless for themselves, it creates the situational Irony. Because gifts are presented by the wisest these gifts are useful and beneficial for the receivers.

 “I could not have lived through Christmas without giving you a present”

“Being wise, their gifts no doubt wise ones… two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other”


 In writing or speaking ‘HUMOUR’ can mean ‘MOOD’ or ‘CHARACTER’ but the word also denotes ‘that which causes laughter.’ In the very beginning of this story, the way how THE DILLINGHAMS were spending their lives was pathetic and humorous as well.

“There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it…”


 A symbol is something which represents something else (often an idea or quality) analogy or association. The Dillingham were so poor that they were living in miserable condition. Their misery is symbolized through this sentence.

 “… and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard”

 Color imagery also exists in this short story.

 “She turned white for just a moment.”


 O’ Henry uses a colorful comparison in a mastery way to attract his readers. He describes the beauty of his heroine in a splendid comparison. Comparison is a device which shoes the value of something than other on the basis of quality.

 “Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds”

 “Being wise, their gifts no doubt wise ones… two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other”


 A figure of speech usually used in prose and verse. Similes always contain the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. Here the writer uses simile of cascade for the beauty of Della’s hair.

“Della’s beautiful hair fell like a cascade of brown water.”

After cutting her hair off Della was looking like a schoolboy.

“That made her looks like a truant schoolboy.”


Allusion is a historical or Biblical reference. The main motive of the usage of allusion is to relate the present events and characters with the previous incidents and persons and to enhance the attraction knowledge of the readers.

“Had the question of Sheba lived in the flat across the Airshaft?”

“Had King Solomon been the Janitor?”

 “The Magi – who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger.”


 It means the repetition of phrases and clauses again and again. It shows character’s physical or psychological condition in the story.

“One dollar and eighty seven cents.”

“Like a Cascade of brown waters.”


 O’ Henry often uses third person to evaluate or narrate this story. Omniscient means a story-teller with total, God like knowledge of the characters and their actions.

“She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.”

“He looked thin and very serious.”

Themes in The Gift of The Magi:

 Theme means the central idea of some work which may explicit or not. A single work may have several themes.


 Love means the attraction between two persons or entities there are two kinds of Love in this universe, mortal and immortal Love or worldly or spiritual Love. Love is an abstract noun but it can be materialized through the presentation of gifts. The presentation of gifts in friendship increases he passion of Love. This is the story of two Lovers, husband & wife. They have to celebrate their Christmas ceremony through giving and receiving the gifts to each other. Della sells her beautiful hair to present a gift to Jim.

As Jim also buy a wondrous gift for Della.

“Maybe the hairs of my head were number of.”

“But nobody could ever count My Love for You.”

“I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.


Sacrifice is one of the major themes of “the gift of the Magi”

Both gift and sacrifice are the expression of Love. Gifts are presented in the shape of objects and things as well as the devotion of the physical efforts. However, the devotion of physical efforts through the depth of heart shows the purity of Love. Della and James sacrifice for each other.

Della says,

“I had my hair cut off and sold because I could not have lived through Christmas with out giving you a presents.”

            “I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.”


Poverty is also discussed in this short story. ‘The Dillingham’ were so poor and leading a miserable life. Della was very contended and faithful wife. She used to save money on daily basis. The writer also tells us their expenses were high than their income.

 “Expenses had been greater than she had calculated”

 That’s why they sold their possessions to presents the gifts to each other.


After the whole discussion, we can say that ‘The Gift of the Magi’ is O’ Henry’s masterpiece. ‘The Gift of the Magi’ held so much popularity that many writers wrote OPERAS and many singers sang that OPERAS. These short stories are derived from the life of the ordinary people in New York City. O’ Henry uses twist plot in his stories, which turn on ironic or coincidental circumstance. Although some critics are not so enthusiastic about his work yet the public loves it. The Gift of The Magi Study Guide By M Zaman Ali.

The Wise Villagers

There was once a large village that lay near a wide river. The land was rich and fertile, and the people who lived there were happy and wealthy. They had no enemies and lived peacefully. They troubled no one and no one troubled them.
Not very far away from the village there was a town. One day the people of the town held a meeting. They gathered in the marketplace to discuss a plane for a new road. The road was going to be built between their town and another one, about fifty kilometers away. A large map of the area was studied, and a rout was soon worked out. The people decided how much money they were going to spend on building the road.
Following this meeting, work began and the news of the road reached the people in the village. Some of the villagers got together and went to find out more. When they reached the town, they went straight to the office of the District Officer and looked at the map.
When they returned home, they called a meeting of the villagers. One of the men who had seen the map said, ‘friends, today some of us saw the map of the new road. It is going to pass close to our village. It will go through some of out best fields, and they will be destroyed. How can we stop this road?’
The villagers were very angry. They sat in the meeting for a long time, but at last they thought up a plan.
A week after the meeting, a man from the town came to the village and found a great crowd of people beside the river. The man from the town was curious. He went over to where the people had gathered. He squeezed through the crowd and saw an amazing sight. There were seven men standing on one bank of the river and seven men on the other. They were holding a thick rope stretched across the river. In the middle someone had tied a cup.
‘What are they doing?’ asked the townsman. ‘They are taking water out of the river,’ replied a man standing close by.
‘With a cup?’ asked the townsman. ‘Oh yes,’ replied the man.
‘But it will take hours to get a bucketful,’ said the townsman.
‘Yes,’ said the man. ‘It is slow. But we always get water out of the river like this. It’s a slow way, but it always works.’
The man from the town was very surprised indeed. He scratched his chin and said to himself, ‘These people are all mad!’ When he got back to the town and told all his friends about what he had seen in the village, they laughed and laughed.
One or two of the man’s friends just could not believe that people could be so stupid. So, the next day, two of them set off to the village to see for themselves. When they arrived at the villege, they found a huge crowd of people standing round a tall tree. The trunk of the tree was nearly two meters wide. Two men were busily working on the trunk.
Each had a small penknife in his hand and was cutting the wood. They were working so hard that the sweat was pouring off their foreheads. ‘What are they doing?’ asked one of the men from
the town. ‘Why,they are cutting down the tree,’ replied one of the villagers. ‘Can’t you see?’ ‘With penknives?’ asked the townsman.
‘Yes,’ said a villager in the crowd. ‘We always cut trees down with penknives.’ ‘But it will take a year or two,’ said the townsman. ‘Yes,’ replied the villager. ‘aiat is slow, but it is a good method. It always works.’
The men from the town were quite astonished. They went back to the town. The stories about the villagers and their odd behaviour spread like wildfire. ‘Those people are quite mad,’ the townsfolk said.

The news even reached the District Officer. ‘What’s all this about?’ he asked. ‘Are the villagers really mad?’
‘Yes, indeed they are,’ replied his chief clerk. ‘They take water out of the river with a cup, and they cut down trees with penknives! They’re quite crazy.’ ‘Are they dangerous?’ asked the District Officer, nervously.
‘I don’t know,’ replied the clerk. The following day the District Officer, and a few of the other important people of the town went to the village to find out more. When they got there they saw a long line of women walking to and from a large anthill. Each woman was carrying a basket. The first woman in the line stepped up to the anthill and took an ant from the moist earth. She put the ant in her basket, and carried it away. ‘What are they doing?’ asked the astonished District
‘They are carrying away ants,’ replied a man standing nearby. ‘Why?’ asked the District Officer. ‘Because ants are very dangerous,’ said the man. ‘They eat everything. We must carry them away.’ ‘But, one in each basket!’ cried the District Officer. ‘That’s ridiculous!’

‘We always do it that way,’ replied the man. It’s slow, but it’s a good method. It always works.’ When the District Officer returned to the town, he called a meeting. ‘I have been to the village,’ he announced. ‘The people there are quite mad.
They take water out of the river with a cup; they cut down trees with penknives; they carry ants away, one by one. They are lunatics. Don’t go near them.’ ‘But, sir,’ said one of the secretaries. ‘Our new road is going to go right past that village.’
‘Then change the plans,’ roared the District Officer. ‘We can build the road along the top of the hill. It must not be constructed near that village!’ So the road was built along the top of the hill and did not go anywhere near the village. The people of the village ploughed their fields and went back to their undisturbed way of life. They were not mad at all; they were very wise.


I Can’t Live Without You…!

Major Characters

  • Rizwan; He is the egoist husband of Fraheen.
  • Farheen; She is the most beautiful wife of Rizwan Amen.
  • Mansoor; He is the pious and noble person and husband of Fakhra.
  • Fakhra; She is the sister of Rizwan Amen and she is sacrificing character.

Minor Characters

  • Amen; He is the father of Rizwan and Fakhra.
  • Musarat; She is the wife of Mr. Ameen and she is sensitive women.
  • Molvi; He is the religious person who announced a religious term ‘Halala’ to solve the problem of Divorce.


The story starts from the happy family of Rizwan and his wife Farheen. Actually, they get a love marriage and loved each other a lot. Therefore, there was a better understanding between them. But the worse and cruel hand of destiny is always
sorrowful and painful.

One day, they celebrate their wedding anniversary, they arranged a party, and both were very excited with their one year baby boy. There were a lot of guests and their family members. All were very happy to see them happy and prosper. In three hours party, all enjoyed very well. After that party, Farheen asked a question very happily to her husband Rizwan ‘Do you love me?? He said, ‘obviously yes!
Suddenly she asked one more question, Can you live without me?? Than he replied, YES!!
She became angry and said to him rudely, ‘You can’t live without me, I know….’ But he again said, ‘I can live without you
Actually he was just joking to his beautiful wife but she took it very seriously. After the warm talk about that topic, Rizwan speak in anger ‘I can live without my wife’ just to break his wife’s ego.
Now he made that question most egoists!!

Suddenly he announced ‘‘‘Divorce’’’ to break her ego and to win his ego in front of his wife. TO speak that he wanted to prove that he can live without his wife Farheen. After a while, he realizes that what happened with him, he thought that ‘He has announced Divorce to his lovely wife in his Ego in front of his mother and sister. To listen that his mother became so worried. Rizwan began crying now!! His wife lost to listen that….’ So, he started saying

‘I can’t live without you…my love!! I can’t leave you……!!

But now the matter was serious and his words were worthless for her. So, his mother called a ‘Molve’ To solve that problem. The ‘Molve’ announced ‘Halala’ to solve that problem.Molve suggested that “Farheen should get marriage to another person and if that person will give her ‘Divorce’ to his own wiliness then she can get marriage to Rizwan”.
So, Rizwan’s sister Fakhra sugguested that Farheen should get marriage with her husband……because she knows better that her husband is pious and noble person, he can give divorce to Farheen easily and then her brother Rizwan will be happy to have his wife Farheen. Therefore, Fakhra agreed her husband to get second marriage with Farheen to solve that
problem. Mansoor said to his wife Fakhra ‘I can’t live without you….my love’.
Finally, Fakhra’s husband Mansoor became agree with the force of all. After all Mansoor get marriage to Farheen. After two days of that marriage, all were waiting for divorce. Finally, Rizwan came to Mansoor and ask him about divorce. But he neglected. After spending one week, Mansoor rejected to give her ‘divorce’ and said that ‘I can’t live without my wife’.
Farheen also settled with Mansoor and she also rejected to walk with Rizwan. And there’s a lot of tears in her eyes when she were saying that ‘My husband can’t live without me, which am why I can’t leave him’.
Because of that Rizwan became alone and his sister Fakhra has a Sotan. Rizwan has lost the all happiness of his life because of his One minute EGO. Because of his ego, he has lost his lovely and beautiful wife and he became alone with his one year baby boy Waqar. His sister gets disturbance and a Sotan. And Fakhra said to Mansoor in her heart ‘I can’t live without you…my love’.
But her husband can’t listen the voice of her heart’s voice. That sotan, who was the lovely wife of her own brother Rizwan.
Now, they all live as it is………

One minute of ego of Rizwan has destroyed the lives and snatches the happiness of their one year’s child also.
Often Rizwan says in his loneliness that ‘I can’t live without you….. My love… child’s mother!!!

By: Aajiz

“The Guiding Dream” By M.S. Dogar

“How are you feeling?”

Shahid sounded and went into his cabin. Hira felt some extra warmth in his words, looked unsure and filled with spirit. She wanted to hear the deep understanding of his words but daily routine work could not allow her. She became busy.

While she was on her coffee break, she went out of her cabinet,  knowing that Shahid would follow her. He did,but it was a moment of change, she heard the very words which she never wanted to have, but never wanted to miss.”I like you Hira” sounded like a cold thing which pressed her skull and she could not help leaving.
Shahid, being a person belonging to a village, never looked as shy as the people of village used to be.
He was smart, handsome, well mannered and the most important was very caring for Hira. For many a time, she thought that he had feelings but she never was sure. even after hearing it, it was hard for her to believe.

All the way from office to home, she kept thinking what was that? why did he say this being an engaged fellow. Some thought regarding the nature of boys for having friendship with girls just for gup-shup and fun, but her heart never attested them. Every time she inquired the answer the question “was he true to his words?”, she found the answer “yea” , as she had found a certificate of surety found his eyes.

“Accepted, he is true to his words” what I should do now? “was the last thought which was wandering in her mind before leaving for the splendid and sweet valley of sleep.

As she slept, she saw a dream, a wonderful dream it was! a guiding dream……

She found herself in front of two mirrors during the dream.

” Hira, get the chance avail, don’t be late.” Sounded the figure from first mirror

” Don’t be selfish, knowing that he is of someone else as being engaged, you want make him yours……this  is selfishness.” voice came from the second mirror.

” How it can be a selfishness from your side, it was he himself who had revealed his love, it is your right to get the love which he has for you, so get it at once……” spoke the first mirror.

” True, well, it was he, but don’t you think that he is making a mistake by ignoring all the affections of his near and dears……would you like to be a part of his guilt. He would have a mother who would have always planned to have her nephew as her daughter in law……same would be with the others……would you ignore the right of all the other in-order to find yours.” Second mirror sounded.

“Whatever! don’t be silly, lucky is the person who has a person who loves him/her, Since your a lucky one, so don’t miss the chance. These kind of chances hardly come.” Voiced the first mirror.

” Human heart always sacrifice its own pleasure for the sake of others smile. You should do the same. Think about his mother, think about the girl who would always thought him as her OWN.” Second Mirror

” Its nonsense, he loves you, he wants to have you for forever, he would take care of you…..suppose you sacrifice here, but if you would nor get the person so caring as he is, then would you ever forgive yourself for making the mistake ? No,never, you would always repent, so its better to get the chance. It is fair and just to get your own part from this world.” First Mirror.

” Trust in God, If you will make happy some one else at your expense, God will also not leave you dejected. In HIS garden, the flowers are for those who leave the shade of their part for someone Else’s. ” Second Mirror

Upon this, she awoke up, being impressed by the last sentences, she make up her mind to follow it……She believed that it was guiding dream by the nature ass it lives here, loves us and guides……

By: M.S. Dogar