The aim of writing this paper is to compare the themes that are brought out in two stories i.e. ‘The Gift of the Magi’ and ‘Wives of the Dead’. In a bid to analyze the themes that are brought out in both stories, it will be prudent to summarize both stories. The first story, i.e. ‘The Gift of the Magi’, illustrates true and intense passion that existed between two people i.e. Della and Jim. The story explains how both lovers had to sell something they valued so much in order to raise enough money to buy each other a worthy Christmas present.
The story begins by explaining how Della, counted the money she had saved in order to confirm whether it was enough to buy Jim the perfect Christmas present. However, after counting the money she had put so much effort to save, Della still realizes that its value was not enough to buy Jim a platinum chain that would complement his golden pocket watch perfectly. Della was, therefore, forced sell off her beautiful knee length brown hair in order to get more money that would enable her to buy Jim a platinum chain. On the other hand, the story continues to explain how Jim was undergoing some financial difficulty especially after receiving a salary cut. Jim was, therefore, forced to sell off his precious golden watch in order to buy Della a gift of tortoise shell combs that were bejeweled. Jim knew that Della had always dreamt of owning such jewelry.
The second story, ‘Wives of the Dead’ illustrates the story of how two women were mourning together after they thought their husbands were dead. However, the story continues to explain how the two women found out that their husbands were still alive. As a result of the care that both women had for one another, they try to keep the good news that their husbands were alive from one another. The women hid the good news that their husbands were still alive in order to avoid hurting each other. Both women assumed that if they broke out the news of their husband was alive, they would increase the sorrow that their counterpart had.
Both stories i.e. ‘The Gift of the Magi’ and ‘Wives of the Dead’ bring out similar themes as stated earlier. For example, the characters in both stories bring out the theme of care and affection for one another. The theme of care and affection can be illustrated by the feelings and the thought processes that all the characters in both stories had for one another. In the story, ‘The Gift of the Magi’, Della thought long and hard about how she would raise enough money that would enable her buy a golden chain for Jim. Della had intense, passionate feelings for Jim. She cared about the feeling that Jim would have concerning the Christmas gift she would give him. Della, therefore, had to make a sacrifice and sell off her hair in order to be able to raise the additional money she needed to buy Jim a platinum chain.
In the story, Wives of the dead, the theme of care and affection is brought out by the fact that both women tried to conceal the news that their husbands were actually alive from one another. Mary was afraid that if she told Margret their her husband was alive, she would increase the sorrow that she had for loosing her husband. Likewise, Margret concealed the fact that her husband wasn’t dead for fearing that she would hurt Mary’s feelings. The actions displayed by both women depict the care and affection they had for one another such that the thought that it would be better to lie concerning their husband’s good welfare.
Both of the stories analyzed also illustrate the theme of happiness. The theme of happiness is brought about by the actions that the characters in both stories undertook to ensure that their counterparts were happy. In the first story, ‘The gift of the Magi’ Della was determined to present her lover Jim with a gift that would ensure that he was happy. She, therefore, had to make a sacrifice of selling her hair in order to guarantee that Jim would be happy with the present she had bought for him. Jim, on the other hand, was also very determined to ensure that Della would be happy with the present he had bought for her. He, therefore, had to make a major sacrifice of selling his golden watch that had been passed down his family generations in order to buy Della the present she had always wanted. His main aim was to ensure that Della was happy.
The second story, ‘Wives of the Dead’ also portrays the theme of happiness. This is illustrated by the fact that Mary concealed the good well being of her husband with the aim of not worsening the bad feeling that Margret had after learning she had lost her husband. Likewise, Margret acted in the same way towards Mary. Both women did not want the happiness of one of them to aggravate the feeling of sorrow that the other one had.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. "The Wives of the Dead." (1804-1864). About. Com: Classic Literature. 5 October 2012
Henry, O. "The Gift of The Magi." 7 February 1992. Aurburn.edu. 5 October 2012