The Gift of the Magi

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Jim’s gold watch Symbol Analysis

Jim’s gold watch Symbol Icon
Jim’s watch holds sentimental value for him as well, having been passed down from generation to generation. In this way, the watch represents Jim’s ties to the family he grew up in—the family he leaves in order to make a new family with Della. The watch also more conventionally represents time, which Jim gives to Della in the form of the hours he works to support the household and the hours he spends at home afterwards. As the narrator mentions towards the story’s end, Jim is never late returning from his job. The gold in the watch can also symbolize several things, including purity, money (which the couple lacks), inner value, and permanence.
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Jim’s gold watch Symbol Timeline in The Gift of the Magi

The timeline below shows where the symbol Jim’s gold watch 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
...most prized possessions: Della’s long, brown hair that falls below her knees and Jim’s gold watch that was passed down from his grandfather. He compares these items to King Solomon’s treasures... (full context)
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Beauty Theme Icon
...a perfect present for Jim. She decides finally on a simple platinum chain for Jim’s watch, comparing the watch’s lack of ornamentation and value to Jim’s personality, which is equally quiet... (full context)
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Love Theme Icon
Beauty Theme Icon
...Jim comforts her before she remembers her own present to Jim. She pulls out the watch chain and asks to see Jim’s watch so that she might try the chain on... (full context)
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Sacrifice Theme Icon
...now and that they’re too nice to use just yet—before admitting that he sold the watch to buy the combs for Della. They decide to have dinner, and the narrator sums... (full context)