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Theme And Narrative Elements In A Short Story Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

A short story illustrates the effectiveness of the plot, particularly one that has a surprise ending such as, “The Gift of the Magi”. In this story of Jim and Della, they are approaching Christmas and have very little money to spend on one another. They each want to surprise the other one with a marvelous gift for Christmas but they have little money and Della only has $1.87. Della ends up cutting her hair for the money while Jim sells his cherished watch. Through selfless acts done for love, they each end up giving one another a Christmas gift they will always remember and cherish. It didn’t matter to either of them what they had to do in order to provide the gift. The theme was portrayed ...view middle of the document...

Ironically in the end, Jim sold his cherished watch only to receive a nicer gold watch from Della. Their selflessness and love for one another I believe was the overall concept of the story, which is why I chose selfless love as the theme of the story, the overall underlying idea.

The theme of the story, “The Gift of the Magi” allowed the reader to understand the underlying idea however there were also many literary elements which contributed to the theme. The literary elements I will touch on are the point of view, tone, and symbolism. The point of view from the story I found to be third person limited omniscient. Third person point of view is when the writer is not a participant in the story (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). Limited omniscient is when the thoughts and feelings of only one of the characters are told through the writer (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). In this story the narrator, or writer, told the story from the outside and was not an active character in the story. The writer did however express the feelings and thoughts of one of the characters, which was Della the wife. Jim, the husband, did not have his feelings and thoughts expressed in the story. The other literary element was tone. Tone is the attitude reflected by the author in a literary work (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). There are different types of tones. The tone that best fits into this story would be ironic tone. Ironic tone is developed when a writer creates a discrepancy or contradiction between what is expected to happen in a story and what actually happens (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). As I read this story, the author made it seem like the character, Della, was poor and the story would be about her surviving or trying to raise money in order to survive. Halfway through the story what was expected to happen changed and the reader realized the story was taking a turn when Della sold her hair and bought a nice gold watch for her husband for Christmas. So Della wasn’t truly broke and needed money, she just didn’t have enough money for a nice present. The gold watch plays a different role in the story as well. It is a symbolism in the story. Jim’s gold watch and Della’s hair are the two main symbolisms in...

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