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Critical literary - Essay Example

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Alongside the marvelous technique of narration, the story “the Gift of the Magi” appeals to the innumerous readers of various cultures world-wide because of its thematic significance. Most of the critics comment that the story is devoid of any serious theme that can attract…
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Critical literary essay
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Critical literary

the Magi” O’ Henry primarily deals with the passion of two opposite sexes for each other, at the inner level of it, he leaves a message that is more serious than it sounds on the surface level. It is the message that appeals to the readers to review their own relationship with their female counterpart of the society.
For those readers who are not acquainted with some of his other stories like “Hearts and Hands”, “the Romance of a Busy Broker” and “Girl” may easily mistake his handling of “love” between Jim and Della for an anecdote that is devoid of any complex theme. In this regard Rena Korb says, “The majority of critics then dubbed O. Henry’s stories facile, anecdotal, superficial, and flippant” (1). But these stories fairly play the role of a foil to “the Gift of the Magi”. While reading “the Gift of the Magi” a reader may perceive the amorous bond between Jim and Della as it is. But when one reads “the Romance of the Busy Broker”, he is confronted with the question what love should be and immediately the answer lies in the reflection of “the Gift of the Magi” that love is as unconditional and spontaneous as Jim-Della’s is. Therefore the themes in these stories are complementary to each other that integrate into a more holistic view of Henry about the amorous relationship between opposite sexes.
When critics comment that “the Gift of the Magi” is nothing more than a mere anecdote, it is the problem of their approach that fails to delve deep into the message of the author. As the formalist critics are exclusively engaged with the author’s intention and style, they cannot interpret the message that the author leaves it in his story for his readers. Hence the reader-response approach to Henry’s stories is more holistic than the formalist approach. In general, critics on the story, “the Gift of the Magi” are of the opinion that his approach to human passion like “love” is more of the fantasy than of ... Read More
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