An Examination of The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of The Magi: A Continuation (Creative Writing). It was one week from Della’s 30th birthday and Jim didn’t have enough money to buy her a present. “Well,” Jim thought, if I don’t have a watch then why should I have a chain for one? So, he sold his watch chain in order to have money for Della’s present. Now, what do I buy Della? he asked himself. I think I’ll go to the flea market and look for something, because one little rusty old chain won’t buy me very much, Jim stated as he started riding his bicycle to the market. At the market Jim found many things, some very pretty and expensive, some very pretty and cheap, and some just plain ugly things that had been there awhile and always would be until they were finally thrown away. Omigosh, is that DDDDeeDDD….? Jim stuttered in astonishment. Was what he had seen real? Or was he just jumping to conclusions? Was that really the hair that Della had sold just 2 years ago? It was, and Jim thought that Della would maybe like it back, so he bought it for 2 cents and he was so happy and he thought he had the best present anyone could ever give their girlfriend. Now, Jim thought, will this be a useful gift, and I don’t mean in a few years, this time I want to get it right, So Jim thought for two days straight. Finally he came up with an idea, I’ll make it into a wig, a girl can never have to many wigs. So he went to the wig shop, which usually only made those white braided wigs that all the important men wore, but the wigmaker made an exception because Jim was a good friend and after all, it was for a girls birthday. The wigmaker asked, “Are you sure Della will like this present, I mean it is rather odd, and Della’s hair has already grown twice as long as this. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be rude, I mean, well I think I’ll just get started on this wig right away, okay, bye.” So Jim left, thinking that the wigmaker was a little out of his mind that day.

The next day, which was the day before Della’s birthday, the wigmaker called Jim. “Hello, Umm, did you want this wig dyed, or left red? And also, I can’t make a wig that fits unless Della’s head is measured, what will you do to find out without arousing her suspicions?” Jim answered uncertainly, “Well I guess I’ll just have to that’s all, and of course not, Don’t you dare dye that beautiful color of hair, it’s the prettiest I’ve ever seen. The wigmaker replied, “Okay. but I still need to know her head size very soon in order to finish the hat, are you sure you like that color?” “I’m not stupid, what I say I want is what I want. Now, I will bring the measurements over as soon as I get them,” Jim replied rudely.

“Della,” Jim replied, breathless from running all the way to the store and back to buy a tape measure, “I need to get your measurements for something, could you come here?” Della obeys thinking maybe a new dress as a present. “What measurements do you need, honey?” Della answered in her sweetest voice. Jim said I need to get your head size for something, that’s all.” “Well, Okay,” Della replied surprised at first, and then realized that she must be getting a hat for her birthday.

Later at the wig shop. “There, it’s all finished; do you like it Jim?” asked the wigmaker. Jim said, “It’s great, don’t you think? You don’t look to sure about it?” The wigmaker replied, lying, “It’s great, after all it’s the thought that counts, right?.” “Sure thing Phil, well, gotta go, tomorrow’s Della’s birthday, are you going to be there?” “Sure Jim, I’ll be there.” Said the wigmaker.

It is Della’s birthday, all of Jim and Della’s friends are at their home, and she begins to open presents. She will be opening Jim’s present first. “I wonder what it could be?” Della claims, quite ecstatically. She unties the ribbon, carefully undoes the golden wrapping paper, opens the box, and slowly takes out the tissue paper, piece by piece. “I’m really exited,” she says as the first piece floats to the floor. “I can hardly wait, I know it will be great,” she says as the second tissue is lifted up. “This is the last one, it’s it’s. ….. it’s a wig!!!” Della shouts loudly and upset. “It is just a piece of filthy old hair, worse yet it’s someone else’s who could have germs. How dare you, you, you” Jim shouts back, in order to be heard by the roaring of Della, “My sweet, it’s your very own hair, the hair in which you cut off to buy me a Christmas present, doesn’t that mean anything to you? And besides, I thought it was the thought that counted.” But Della was to upset to listen to reason. She shouted at him, “I hate you, I really hate you. How dare you give me a worthless rag, get away from me, I never want to see you again, I’m packing and leaving tomorrow!” As she finished speaking she ran into her bedroom, locked the door, and dropped onto her bed, crying her eyes out. Della left the next day, not even saying goodbye to Jim. Jim was heartbroken. He moved away out of shame for being so dumb. For the next 30 years he kept the wig, which had been thrown back in his face by his beloved, and he mourned his loss. He vowed that if he could ever see Della again, he could make up for his stupidity.

It is 34 years after Della left Jim. Jim had previously been traveling the country, and eventually settled in Della’s home town, hoping that someday she too would return. Lucky for him, she did return, for her 64th birthday. She wanted to spend it with her brother, David, and his family. David and Jim had been friends ever since they met when Della and Jim started seeing each other. David is how Jim had been keeping tabs on where Della was. By now, Della was old, gray, with short ugly hair. On Della’s birthday, Jim showed up, with the wig hiding in a box. Della opened the door and froze, stunned. “Jim, it, it’s been so long, why are you here?” Della asked shakily. Jim replied, “Well, I have never forgotten you Della, and I still love you and hope you could forgive me.” “Actually, I shouldn’t have been as cruel to you as I was, but still, that was a dumb move,” Della said. Jim stated apologetically, “It was a stupid present then, but would you take it now? It kinda fits the situation better don’t you think? But I am not implying that you look ugly now, If I gave you this I wouldn’t want you to wear it if your just around me if you didn’t want, because I don’t think you’ve changed one bit. Jim says, taking the box from behind him and handing it to Della. She opens it, and it’s the old wig, but cleaned and groomed of course. Della stutters, “I, I, I don’t know what to say. I love it, and it’s true with me also. I have never loved anyone else but you.” Jim asks, “Della, will you marry me?” Yes, oh yes, of course I will marry you. Della says as she puts on the old wig. Della and Jim lived happily ever after, until 2 years later when they both died together in a terrible car crash.

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