“The Gift of the Magi” by O.Henry…1905 A short story

A master of the unexpected…

American author William Porter wrote under the pseudonym of O. Henry in an attempt to hide his criminal past for bank embezzlement in an earlier part of his life. He was incarcerated for three years for his crime and for leaving the country to escape the law. Once he paid his debt to society he became prolific as a writer of short stories.

His stylistic prose used “comic irony” where there was usually an unforseen twist to the ending. Many of his stories were accepted by periodicals of the era, and “The Gift of the Magi” is perhaps his most well known. The sentimental plot deals with an impoverished young couple, and each wishes to please the other with Christmas gifts. The surprising, yet charming ending only enriches the romanticism that the author evoked sharing with us that at yuletide it is the thought that counts and that “love conquers all.”


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