The gift of the magi summary | questions and answers | notes

The gift of the magi summary

       The gift of magi notes

the gift of the magi questions and answers class 12 ahsec book vibgyor. Also get the gift of the magi comprehension questions and answers, textual ncert solution with the gift of the magi by O henry short story summary in English and critical analysis.

The gift of the magi summary 

This is a story about a rather poor young married couple Della and Mr. James Dillingham Young. Della counted the money she had saved. It was all total one dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day was Christmas. She wanted to buy her husband Jim (i.e. Mr. James Dillingham Young) a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months. She could manage to save only $1.87. She had spent many hours planning for something nice for him.

There were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took much pride. One was Jim's gold watch and the other was Della's hair. Della decided to sell off her beautiful long hair for Jim's present. And, she sold it for twenty dollars with that money she bought a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design. It was perfect for Jim's gold watch.

At 7 o'clock, Della was waiting for Jim to come home. When Jim came and saw Della's short hair, he was quite shocked. Della admitted to Jim that she sold her hair to buy him his present. Jim gave Della her present, The Combs-the set of combs, side, and back, that Della had always longed for. She looked at Jim with dim eyes and a smile, and said-"My hair grows so fast, Jim!" And then Della showed Jim the chain for his watch. Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his hands and smiled. He told Della that he had sold his watch to get the money to buy her combs.

Thus, Della and Jim sacrificed their greatest possessions for each other.

The gift of the magi questions and answers

A. Answer the following questions in one or two words

1. What is Jim's full name?
Ans: Jim's full name is James Dillingham Young.

2. How much money had Della managed to save for Jim's present?
Ans: Della had managed to save one dollar and eighty-seven cents for Jim's present.

3. Who did she go to, to get money for Jim's present?
Ans: Della went to Madame Safronie to get money for Jim's present.

4. What was Jim's gift for Della?
Ans: Jim's gift for Della was a set of beautiful tortoiseshell combs, side and back that she always longed for.

5. What was Della's treasured possession?
Ans: Della's treasured possession was her long and beautiful hair, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters.

B. Answer the following questions in a few words.

1. Who were the Magi?
Ans: The Magi were the three Wisemen - Gasper, Melchoir, and Balthazar who traveled from the East to Jerusalem to see the infant Jesus born in a stable. They were guided by a star and they carried precious gifts for Jesus. 

2. Why was Della worried?
Ans: Initially Della was worried about arranging the required money to buy a nice gift for James at Christmas since she had only one dollar and eighty-seven cents. Hence, she sold her beautiful hair and brought a gift for James. Now her new look troubled her as she looked more like a truant schoolboy. Della was really worried thinking that Jim might be critical about her appearance.

3. What did Jim do to get a gift for Della?
Ans: Jim sold his precious golden watch, a family heirloom, in order to get a gift for Della.

4. What did Della do after reaching home?
Ans: On reaching home Della got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the damaged hair. After forty minutes of hard work, she looked wonderfully like a truant schoolboy with tiny, close-lying curls on her head. At 7 o'clock, she made coffee and got the frying pan ready to cook the chops.

5. What was Jim's reaction when he returned home?
Ans: Jim was foxed for a moment to find Della without her long beautiful hair. His eyes were fixed upon Della but the expression of his eyes was unintelligible to her, rather it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that Della had been prepared for James simply stared at her fixedly with a peculiar expression on his face.

C. Answer the following questions briefly in your own words.

1. Bring out the relation between Della and the Queen of Sheba.
Ans: Queen of Sheba, a biblical character, was a rich and powerful queen who came to king Solomon with a wealth of spices, gold, and jewels to test for herself whether king Solomon was truly wise. In the story 'The Gift of the Magi' the author O' Henry draws the relation between Della and Queen of Sheba to reflect on Della's beautiful hair. Della, a key character of the story, had a prized possession of long beautiful hair, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee. In a light-hearted comparison it was stated that if the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, she would have been jealous of Della's locks of hair, out of the window in order to dry. Her wealth would have paled/devalued in comparison to Della's beautiful hair.

2. Bring out the relation between Jim and King Solomon.
Ans: King Solomon was a rich and powerful king of Israel and son of David. His name is synonymous with wisdom. In the story 'The Gift of the Magi' the author O' Henry draws the relation between Jim and King Solomon to glorify the ancestral gold watch of Jim. Jim, a key character of the story, possessed a precious gold watch, a family heirloom, in which he could take a might pride and even king Solomon might have been envious of. In a light-hearted comparison it was stated that if king Solomon had been the Janitor with all his treasures piled up in the basement, he would have enviously plucked at his beard to find Jim pull out his gold watch, every time he passed by.

3. Show how the 'twist in the tale' makes the story of Jim and Della a moral lesson.
Ans: In the story, 'The Gift of Magi' Jim and Della had to sell-off their precious possessions to buy gift for each other on Christmas Della in order to a fine, rare and sterling gift for Jim sold her long and beautiful hair beautiful enough to make the Queen of Sheba jealous. Finally, she bought a platinum fob chain, simple and chaste in design, for Jim's gold watch. On the other hand, Jim sold his precious gold watch, a family heirloom, which even King Solomon might have been envious of to buy an expensive tortoiseshell comb for Della's beautiful hair.

The ironic 'twist in the tale' is that both Della and Jim traded off the very treasures each possessed and for which the gifts were meant. the ardor love of the couple ended in a situation which Jim beautifully reflected when he said-
    "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep them a while. they' re too nice to use just at present"

This 'twist in the tale' makes the story of Jim and Della a moral lesson that the selflessness a desire to add the happiness of the one who receives the gift and the spirit of sacrifice are the essence of gift-giving on Christmas. 

D. Give suitable answers to the following.

1. Examine the significance and appropriateness of the title of the story.
Ans: The author O' Henry has appropriately chosen the title 'The Gift of the Magi' for the story of Della and Jim. The Magi were the three Wisemen - Gasper, Melchoir, and Balthazar who traveled from the East to Jerusalem to see the infant Jesus born in a stable. They were guided by a star and they carried precious gifts for Jesus. The Magi invented the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas. Being wise, their gifts were also undoubtedly wise.

The story centers around a young couple of Della and Jim who are poor but hardworking and their existence is full of struggle but they manage to experience joy through the power of their love for each other. They were planned to make the Christmas eve a special one with a wonderful gift for each other. Jim and Della had to sell-off their precious possessions to buy gifts for each other on Christmas Della in order to a fine, rare, and sterling gift for Jim sold her long and beautiful hair. Finally, she bought a platinum fob chain, simple and chaste in design, for Jim's gold watch. On the other hand, Jim sold his precious gold watch to buy an expensive tortoiseshell comb for Della's beautiful hair. 

But the gifts of Della and Jim are unique and wise in the sense that they reveal the true essence of gift-giving on Christmas i.e. selflessness a desire to add the happiness of the one who receives the gift and the spirit of sacrifice. Through O' Henry terms the couple as 'the foolish children' he points out clearly that they value the human relationship and their mutual love and generosity make them the 'Magi'.

Thus the title is quite significant and appropriate.

2. Based on the events, attempt a justification of the story as an example of comic irony.
Ans: In 'The Gift of Magi' the author O' Henry uses the comic irony with a view to emphasizing the moral of the story Jim and Della, two key characters of the story, had to sell off their precious possessions to buy gift for each other on Christmas Della in order to a fine, rare and sterling gift for Jim sold her long and beautiful hair. Finally, she bought a platinum fob chain, simple and chaste in design, for Jim's gold watch. On the other hand, Jim sold his precious gold watch to buy an expensive tortoiseshell comb for Della's beautiful hair.

The ironic twist in the story is that both Della and Jim sold off the very treasures each possessed for which the gifts were meant. A faint smile spread across the lips of the reader with this ironic twist in the plot. but this irony makes the story of Jim and Della a moral lesson that the selflessness a desire to add the happiness of the one who receives the gift and the spirit of sacrifice are the essence of gift-giving on Christmas. 

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