In O. Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi” set in the New York, he uses solid detail to express the theme: the best gift one can give to another-love. In the beginning of the story, Della (Jim’s wife), counts the “pennies saved one and two at a time” that amounts to $1.87 “which to buy Jim a present” for Christmas (Henry203-204). The little bits of money she saved from “the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher” when out buying food does not amount to a number that satisfies her-in fact she enters a state of melancholy because she feels it is far from enough for a worthy gift to Jim to show her love to him (Henry203). Living like Della does; by the pennies and the scraps and not wasting any money for personal benefit for the time span a whole year takes enormous willpower and a motivation-her love to Jim. After Della cries over not having enough money to buy Jim a present she “cut [her hair] off and sold it” to a salon for twenty dollars to buy Jim a present with (Henry206). Della’s “beautiful hair…rippling and shining” was a possession in which “[Jim and Della] both took a mighty pride” in (Henry204). Her decision to sell her one most valuable possession shows how much she will sacrifice to give Jim a gift that he will love, and thus love Della for giving it to him. At the end of the story when Jim comes home from work and see’s Della’s hair gone, he “simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face” because Jim “sold [his] watch to get the money to buy [Della] a comb” (Henry206-207). He too decided to sell his most valuable possession to obtain enough money to buy Della a Christmas gift she won’t forget. They both gave each other the most valuable gift someone can give and receive-love.
Through O. Henry’s use of solid detail in his story “The Gift of the Magi”, he showed that the one ultimate gift that overrules all gifts on the world is love.