The Influential Messages of Love, Offering, Tradition, and Deceptiveness of Appearance in The Gift of the Magi, Two Thanksgiving, and The Necklace
The short stories, “The Gift of The Magi” and “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentleman” by O’Henry and “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant have very influential messages of Love, offering, tradition and deceptiveness of appearance in the form of powerful situational and dramatic ironies. Irony in a literature is defined as “a technique of indicating through a character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated” <URL:http://www.dictionary.reference.com>. The ironies in these stories not only gave some messages but also caught the reader’s attention until to its end throwing a surprise element.
The ironies as showed by Henry in his two stories have the melancholic touch through his characters that shows their caring and thoughtful nature by giving gifts and feeding the needy one that leaves the protagonist both in despair and in difficult circumstances. Also Maupassant showed that objectification could please and how we could be easily illusion by objects. In the story “The Gift of The Magi” the two lead characters Della and Jim are two young loving couple. There unflinching love for each other in the story is shown as an irony in the story when two of them finds out that the gifts they have chosen for each other bears no more importance.
Despite this fact they don’t show any resent, anger or any sign of hesitation because they know that they have each other and could not be taken by anything. Although for Jim, the chain for his watch could not be used as he sold his most valuable asset a watch from his father to gift her expensive comb and to make the matter most heartbreaking, when Jim finds out that Della sold her long hair, which was her center of attraction. These were the two possessions, which they took pride of and they sacrifice that just to make their partner happy, it’s a gesture of their true love for them. For them objects was not dearer than their love for each other.
The irony in the story comes about when they both finds out that the gift that they bought for each other is no longer of use, but they easily accept this fact and keeps their gift to be used for future and goes on to have their chops and celebrate their Christmas. This proves that just a thought of remembering someone to wishfully give a gift of any kind is a sign of pure love and care that they have for each other.
As in the next story “Two Thanks Giving Gentleman”, the irony is disclosed at the last of the story when both the Old Gentleman and Stuffy Pete are brought to the hospital because of the illness. Their sickness, appearance, and clothes bring out the contrast and surprising element. As Stuffy Pete who is dressed in ragged is brought in the hospital because of overfeeding, whereas the Old Gentleman who is dressed nicely and offers hearty meal is brought in the hospital because of the starvation as he did not eat for three days. For a reader the general perception seems incongruous when we analyze the situation of two different men. But this is the irony of the story, as the Old man is happy to feed the Stuffy Pete because he wishes to carry his tradition of feeding people and Stuffy Pete is humbled and grateful of the generosity given by the Old Gentleman.
Although Stuffy Pete is destitute but he is not hungry whereas the Old Gentleman who is well dressed and has the money to feed him in a restaurant with different kinds of cuisine and also tip the waiter is starved because he finds a pleasure in doing so. This shows the true Gentleman in the Old man who saved money to feed his friend and an act of honest offering to help people in need. In another story “The Necklace” the writer is trying to show the mentality of two women of different class. The protagonist, Mathilde Loisel, who in the story has a big aspiration like that of her affluent friend Madam Foreister, who dreams of living a fancy life, but at last finds out that the worldly pleasures and her dreams were just a deception.
She failed to understand the beauty she had and the gift that she had which was her loving and hardworking husband because it was overshadowed by her illusive dream for fame. She objectified herself for a trivial joy of being the center of attraction in the party with beautiful dress and the necklace. This shows the desire of a middle class Loisel, whereas Foreister her friend despite being rich is never possessed by the thought of it. The irony is brought into disclosure at the end when Loisel finds out that the necklace which she lost in the party was just a replicated one. She gives everything she has, her time, beauty, and money to repay the original necklace which she thought was expensive one.
All this ten years she kept it to herself and had punished her for having the illusive dream which was costlier than the original value of the diamond necklace. This truth which she finds out will definitely hurt her to the most and puts her in a state of regret for not being content and falling out for the mere illusion. Although she succeeded in the story to become the center of attraction with that necklace and dress, but failed hard at end and had to pay a hefty amount. Her wealth and class was just a thing of beauty that lived short, it was deceptive to her and her audience.
For a reader, Madam Foreister necklace gives the deceptive of appearance as it was thought to be made of diamonds but was aesthetic and how women like Loisel are deceived by its appearance. The ironies in the story “The Gift Of The Magi” and “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentleman” were an example of situational as the gifts of Della and Jim did not meet each other’s expectation of making each other happy but remained happy because of their love for each other, and the situation of the Old Gentleman and Stuffy Pete did not meet the people’s expectation when they are brought in the hospital which was in contrary as people found well class the old Gentleman, a hungry and ragged looking Stuffy Pete suffered from being overstuffed.
And the last story was a dramatic as Mathilde was not aware of the truth that she had spent her ten years of life just to pay the money for the original diamond which she later finds out to be fake. This all ironies bears a strong messages to the readers which are the very act of thinking about the gift for their loved one is beautiful and meaningful, the satisfaction in carrying out the tradition and act of modest offering and not be mistaken by the appearance as it could be deceptive are definitely worth.