The Gift of the Magi

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.

Della’s hair Quotes in The Gift of the Magi

The The Gift of the Magi quotes below all refer to the symbol of Della’s hair. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Value Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Doubleday, Page and Company edition of The Gift of the Magi published in 1906.
The Gift of the Magi Quotes

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

Related Characters: Della, Jim
Related Symbols: Della’s hair, Jim’s gold watch
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

Related Characters: Della (speaker), Della, Jim
Related Symbols: Della’s hair, Jim’s gold watch
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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)