Setting Analysis: The Gift of the Magi

Every story can be analyzed to in greater depth to create a much deeper understanding of why certain aspect of the story are occurring in a certain time and place to create a greater affect on the reader. In O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” the author depicts a story of a married couple that want to buy something for each other on Christmas Eve. Henry places his story on the day before Christmas to make the readers feel sorry for the couple. “Tomorrow would be Christmas day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy a present for Jim” (Henry 165). This was an important choice in setting for the author because now the woman is desperate to buy something for her husband as quick as she possibly can. At the very beginning of this story the reader can recognize that this is not a modern story. The wife is thinking to herself about how she only has $1.87 to buy her husband something amazing for Christmas. The author has placed his story in a different time era, around the 1800s. It is clear that they are not living in a modern era due to Della’s comment referring to “a furnished at $8 per week” and the fact that she was able to buy her husband a gold fob chain for his pocket watch in exchange for her massively long hair. The main characters definitely influence the plot of this story, because without their desire to get something for each other in celebration of Christmas, they would have never of traded their prized possessions for gifts which was a disaster in the end. The setting of this story makes a huge impact on the way the reader will portray it. I do not think that the readers would necessarily feel as bad if the wife had a larger sum of money. But in accordance to the era this would be accurate. I do not think the readers would have felt as bad for the couple if they did not buy the one thing that the other loved dearly, a comb and a fob chain, which would not be a particular item that everyone would desire in this era.