Short Story Essay

Essay by Nelly25mattHigh School, 10th gradeA+, October 2004

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All people have something that is valuable to them. These items of value can be possessions of land and jewelry, or even feelings that are cherished towards someone or something. Sometimes however, an individual must give up what they value most to attain something more important. For instance, in many works of literature a character often sacrifices something of value in order to achieve something of greater value. Specifically in the short stories, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and The Interlopers by Saki, two characters, Ulrich von Gradwitz and Della, sacrifice something of value and achieve something of greater value.

In O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, Della sacrifices her hair - the only item she values - so that James can have a gift for Christmas. One example of Della's decision is supported by the fact that she only has one dollar and eighty-seven cents with which to buy a present.

O. Henry introduces Della's financial calamity when he writes, "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it" (459). Another example is when Della actually acts upon her decision to sell her hair by going to Mme Sofronie, a hair dealer. Della asks Mme Sofronie, "Will you buy my hair?" Madame answers and says, "I buy hair... take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it... twenty dollars."

Della then says, "Give it to me quick" (462). A final example of why Della sacrifices her hair and how her sacrifice achieves something of greater value is when James sees Della and freezes. Della is becoming worried at this point of Jim's reaction and

says, "Jim, darling,