Examples Of Figurative Language In The Gift Of The Magi

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“The Gift of the Magi” “The Gift of the Magi” is a short story by O. Henry. The story is about a poverty-stricken couple during Christmas time. To find the money to purchase each other’s gifts, Della and Jim both sold their favorite possessions. Della sold her hair and Jim sold his watch. The conflict was that both of the gifts they bought for each other relied on the possessions they sold. Jim bought Della combs and Della bought him a chain for his watch. Figurative language is described as a language used to make a special effect or feeling. Imagery is words that create a picture and appeal to our senses. Throughout the story, O. Henry uses figurative language and imagery to emphasize ideas and enhance the reader’s understanding. O. Henry…show more content…
An allusion is a reference to a familiar person, place, or thing. The first example is when O. Henry writes on page 154, “Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry and mocked at Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts.” By saying this, readers can imagine how beautiful Della’s hair is. O. Henry made this special effect by showing that a woman who could have everything, would still be jealous of how beautiful Della’s hair was. This reference truly shows the beauty of her hair without simply saying that it was alluring. As the story goes on and Della barters her hair away, his previous allusion made the loss of her hair so much more dramatic. The second allusion is also on page 154. O. Henry says, “Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.” O. Henry’s claim that King Solomon would be envious of Jim’s watch, emphasizes how unique and subtle it is. Similar to the comparison to the Queen of Sheba, this allusion also makes it more dramatic for the reader when Jim sells his watch. Due to O. Henry’s use of allusions, the readers can imagine how nice their possessions were and how hard it was for Della and Jim to give them up. O. Henry’s brilliant use of allusions enhanced…show more content…
Henry used other forms of figurative language throughout his short story. First, there is an example on page 157. O. Henry wrote, “They were expensive combs she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession.” This sample of figurative language is known as personification. Personification can be defined as a figure of speech that describes an animal, object, or idea with human qualities. In this example, Della’s heart had been given the human quality of craving and yearning over something. With the intention of emphasizing ideas and enhancing the reader’s understanding, O. Henry showed truly how much Della loved those combs and how difficult it must have been for the couple to know that she could not use them. Another key example, was on page 156. O. Henry wrote, “Jim stepped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of a quail.” This example was a simile. A simile is a comparison of two unlike things. In this case, it was Jim and a setter. In this illustration, O. Henry portrayed how shocked and motionless Jim was. Comparing Jim to a setter that was ready to catch his prey, shows how Della’s hair looked and also shows how Jim felt about it. When setters see a quail they stop in their tracks as if they have never seen one before, which describes exactly how Jim acted. O. Henry’s use of this simile was much more effective and appealing than saying that Jim was shocked because it didn’t portray

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