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Theme and Narrative Elements in a Short Story Essay

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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 by the literary elements within the story. Plot, point of view and symbolism are just a few of the literary elements which helped developed the theme of the story.

The story I read and critiqued was, “The gift of the Magi”. In order to find the theme of this short story, I had to look beyond the plot, which tells the reader what happened in the story (Clugston, 2010, section 5.5). The theme of this story I believe would be “selfless love”. Other readers, who read the same short story as I did, might have an entirely different theme. This is actually to be expected and is even common. This is because every reader has a different relationship to literature due to each individual’s different experience throughout life. The theme of selfless love, I chose due to I feel like the writer chose selfless love as the underlying idea of the story. The story did have items of joy, sadness, and generosity; however the underlying idea was how Jim and Della went to great lengths in order to make sure they each had an unbelievable present for Christmas for each other. The couple had no idea the other one was selling the most cherished item they had in order to buy their spouse a magnificent…...

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