The Gift of the Magi Historical Context

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O. Henry does not specify where or when "The Gift of the Magi" takes place. The reader may assume that "the city" he refers to is New York City and that the story occurs around the time he wrote it—in the early 1900s. Details from the story, such as the clothes the characters wear, the physical descriptions of the apartment and of the city, and the language in the story (both the slang used by the characters and the vocabulary of the narrator) help support this assumption. For instance, the Youngs' flat has an electric buzzer (even though it is broken), but Delia must use the gas to heat her curling irons, showing that the story takes place before electricity was as widely used as it is today. Wigs are made with real human hair, and watches are commonly carried in a pocket rather than...

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This section contains 303 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Gift of the Magi Study Guide
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The Gift of the Magi from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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