The Gift of the Magi

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Della’s hair Symbol Analysis

Della’s hair Symbol Icon
Della’s hair and Jim’s gold watch are the young couple’s most prized possessions at the start of the story, and their eventual sacrifice of these items represents the couple’s love. More specifically, however, Della’s hair represents her beauty and youth. Her hair reaches down below her knees, meaning that she must have started growing it very young, and the sentimental value it has for her is directly contrasted with Madame Sofronie’s brusque evaluation of the hair’s dollar value.
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Della’s hair Symbol Timeline in The Gift of the Magi

The timeline below shows where the symbol Della’s hair appears in The Gift of the Magi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Gift of the Magi
Value Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...of thin mirror between the windows of the apartment—and stands before the glass, releasing her hair to fall to its full length. Here, the narrator describes the couple’s most prized possessions:... (full context)
Value Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
Della runs downstairs onto the street, where she finds a hair shop run by a Madame Sofronie. After a brief exchange during which Madame Sofronie evaluates... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
Della returns home to fix her hair into curls and prepare dinner before waiting for Jim at the door. She says a... (full context)
Value Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
When Jim enters the door, he freezes, staring at Della’s hair without expression. Della runs to Jim and tells him that she had her hair cut... (full context)
Value Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...opens the package to find the beautiful tortoiseshell combs that she had coveted for her hair. She shrieks in joy before crying, and Jim comforts her before she remembers her own... (full context)