Short Story A Gift for Christmas O Henry Interactive English Second Year Intermediate Study Material With Answers

Short Story

2. A Gift for Christmas (O Henry)

5. Answer ANY Two of the following question in about 100 words each [2×4=8]

a) “Love, sacrifice, and generosity are the essential elements for happy living.” Explain this statement with reference to the story A Gift for Christmas.
b) Analyse the character of Della.
c) Sketch the character of Jim.
d) A Gift for Christmas is an example of O. Henry’s comic irony. Justify.

The story “A Gift for Christmas” is written by “William Sydney Porter” known as “O. Henry” an American Short Story writer. His stories are remarkable for their wit and surprising end. They mainly deal with human emotions. His works include A Gift for Christmas and The Ransom of Redchief.

The story is about the Passionate, Pure, and Sacrificial love of a Couple Jim and Della, a young married couple, who live in a small flat.

Della is a young, affectionate, and selfless woman. She has a passionate love for her husband Jim. The most attractive feature of Della’s beauty is her long, brown, and Silky hair.

Jim is logical, compassionate, intelligent and above all loyal to Della’s love. Jim is Della’s twenty-two-year-old husband who can barely afford a cheap apartment. The narrator describes Jim’s appearance as thin and serious a poor fellow due to the burdens he faces on a low salary that is $20 per week. Despite these burdens however, he is described as content, quiet, and good-natured. He loves his dear wife Della intensely. Jim possesses a gold watch passed down from his grandfather.

It’s Christmas time, and Della has been planning for a long to buy a worthy gift for Jim for Christmas. She saves $1.87 throughout the year to buy a gift for her husband. As she has very little money to buy a present for Jim, she sells her proud Possasian- long brown hair- to buy a beautiful Platinum watch chain for her husband for $21 to see a smile on her husband’s face on Christmas evening.

On the other hand, Jim sells his most Prized belonging the gold watch in order to buy fancy ivory combs for Della’s beautiful silk hair.

O. Henry uses situational irony to emphasize surprise and the unexpected outcome of the story. Clearly, Della cannot make use of these decorative combs in her very short hair and Jim lacks the watch, as he has sold. He has no need for the expensive chain, the irony is that both gifts are useless to the recipients.

Thus both of them show the true meaning of love, sacrifice, and generosity for happy living. It highlights the valuable Possessions of mankind.


The short story A Gift for Christmas is written by William Sydney Porter, an American short story writer. He is popularly known as O. Henry. He wrote nearly 600 stories about life in America.

The story A Gift for Christmas narrates the story of a young married couple, Della and Jim, who love each other in a small flat. Jim’s gold watch and Della’s long, beautiful hair are what they consider their treasures.

It’s Christmas time, Della in order to buy a gift for Jim, sells her long and beautiful hair, and she buys a platinum watch- chain for Jim. And Jim sells his gold watch to buy expensive ivory combs for Della.

Thus, both of them show the true meaning of love, sacrifice, and generosity for happy living.

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