The hardship and constant struggle of life make the human relationship stronger and more mature. If the person is satisfied from inner, he does not need any kind of material pleasure. Even in meagre earning, and other hardship of the life, the person can be satisfied and mentally stable if he learns to measure the value of love and sacrifice. This is the major ideology on which the two stories “The Gift of The Maggi” by O Henry (William Sidney Porter) and second is “A Worn Path by Welty Eudora can be analysed. Finding our happiness in the happiness of loved one, and living for other’s happiness is the real way of living our life. This is the message both of these stories have given to the readers.
The similarities between the plots of these two stories are the presentation of the characters, and their perceptions of looking towards life through the action. In The Gift of the Maggi” the protagonists Jim and Della love each other on such an optimum level that they sacrifice their precious things for each other. Della sacrifices her hair and buys a chain for Jim’s wrist watch, but Jim has also sold his gold wrist watch for buying combs for Stella’s beautiful long hair. Their ultimate objective is to make other happy. In A Worn Path, the protagonist Phoenix, a very old lady sets for a long and hazardous journey to bring medicine for her sick grandson. The ultimate objective of her life is to bring happiness in her miserable grandson’s life by curing him. The ultimate objectives of all the three characters is to make their loved-ones happy and satisfied in their life. For three of these protagonists, the love is the ultimate aim of their life. And the feeling of love reach them to the height of detachment for their own self. ‘Love implies detachment from oneself and surrender. The act was an act of love; they each delivered themselves into the hands of the other.’ (Casanovas 88)
There is no complexity in the characterization in both of these stories. There are only two active characters in The Gift of Maggi; Della and Jim. In A Worn Path there are also two characters Phoenix and her grandson. But her grandson is not present in the story. He is in her thought. All of these characters have accepted their life without complaining. They try to find out the ways out of their adverse condition or their problems. They are cheerful and peaceful for the experience of the tranquillity and peach of mind. They are selfless, and committed. They have kept the light of love and hope in their mind intact. Their love is unconditional and hence noble.
Both of these short stories end with the Christmas gifts. After great efforts and losing something each character brings Christmas gifts for each other. Della loses her hair and buy wrist chain for Jim, ‘The Combs—the combs that Della had seen in a shop window and loved for a long time. Beautiful combs, with jewels, perfect for her beautiful hair. She had known they cost too much for her to buy them. She had looked at them without the least hope of owning them. And now they were hers, but her hair was gone’ (O Henry 6). Jim loses his wristwatch and buy combs for Della’s long hair, Phoenix also wastes lot of her energy in her long and hazardous journey and buy medicine as well as a wind mill as a gift of Christmas for her grandson. ‘"This is what come to me to do," she said. "I going to the store and buy my child a little windmill they sells, made out of paper’ (Welty).
The gold watch of Jim and the long hair of Della, both are the symbols of their pride and identity. For the sake of their love they sacrifice their pride and identity and thus show that their love knows no pride and they are unified in such a way that there is no individual identity. It is concept of monism can be applied to their oneness through sacrificing most precious things.
In A Warn Path, Phoenix is a lady with indomitable spirit, perseverance and incredible stamina. The name of the protagonist is symbolic. It has a mythological significance. Phoenix is the bird signifies resurrection. Phoenix emerged out of his own ashes. The strong person has an ability to overcome all troubles in life. Phoenix was like the mythological bird, who always stands bravely and find the ways in the most troublesome situation of her life. While doing this, she never cries for the situation but faces everything cheerfully.
Thus these two stories are different from each other in their plot, characters and setting but there are subtle resemblances.
Casanovas, Oriol. Unity and Pluralism in Public International Law. N.p.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2001. 88. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.
"The Gift of the Maggi ." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://americanenglish.state.gov/files/ae/resource_files/1-the_gift_of_the_magi_0.pdf>.
Welty, Eudora. A Worn Path. N.p., 2001. Web. 28 Apr. 2015. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/ew_path.html>.