Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

“The Gift of the Magi” Questions for Critical Reading
Review these questions. Take time to create your responses.

  1. What instances of irony exist in the short story? 
  • In the story Della cuts off her hair in order to get Jim a chain for his watch, and Jim sells his watch in order to get Della combs for her hair. This can be seen as situational irony.

2. Why would O. Henry put an emphasis on the number three for the story? 
-The story has three main characters: Della, Jim, and Madame Sophronie 
-Della counts her money three times (para. 1). 
-The narrator says that “Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles” (para. 2). 
-A reference is made to the Queen of Sheba, who gave King Solomon three types
of gifts: spices, gold, and jewels. 
-A sentence in para. 5 states, “She stood by the window and looked out dully at
a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard.” 
-The narrator alliteratively describes Della as speaking with “sudden serious
sweetness.” 
-The story centers on three valuables: Jim’s gold watch, Della’s hair, and the love
that Jim and Della share. 

-There is an emphasis on the number three because the magi was a group of three wisemen (mentioned on page nine). The whole moral of the story is surrounded by the magi.

3.  Who is the protagonist? Who or what is the antagonist? 
-Della and Jim are the protagonists of the story. The antagonist of the story was poverty.

4. How would the story change if the setting were different? Would this be an effective story if it were set in today’s time? 
-I feel that the story wouldn’t really change if the setting were different. Nowadays people still sacrifice a lot for one another or for a better cause. I think that the cherished items would be updated and possibly more technologically based, but regardless I feel there are Della’s and Jim’s all over this world.

5. Is there foreshadowing in the story? 
-There is foreshadowing present in the title of the story, and in the elaborate descriptions of Della’s and Jim’s prized possessions.

6. Does the story end the way that you expect? Why or why not? 
-The story does indeed end the way I expected. I feel this way because, regardless of the gifts either one received I expected them to both appreciate the lengths their significant other went through to obtain that said gift. I expected to story to end happily and with a positive vibe. And although the path was different, the end of the story was one that I expected.

7. Several passages in the story give subtle clues about Jim. Identify at least three passages that reveal aspects of Jim’s character and explain their significance.  
  • In the last paragraph on page five the narrator mentions that the watch mimicked Jim, because they both acquired a quietness and value to them. This tells you that Jim is valued by his wife, and he is also a docile soul
  • In the middle of page seven the narrator mentions that Jim was never late. This tells you that Jim is a very punctual man.

8.  What does the story teach about sacrifice?
-The story teaches us that sacrifice is enviable but if you love someone enough, if you are willing to do anything for that person, the sacrifice will forever be worth it. 

9.  If you had to teach this story as an example of good literature, what elements would you emphasize to your classes?
-The story sets the setting, elaborates on details, and leaves you guessing until the very end. As a teacher key points, hooking the reader and thinking outside of the box in your elaborations, would definitely be stressed. Another element that I would emphasize is the version of narration. The narrator was quite involved with the reader, he made statements directly to us.