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STORY:

THE GIFT OF THE


MAGI
By: Catherine Mick

Introduction
It is very important to have a good
understanding of the different Elements of
Literature in order to get the full effect of a story.
In this presentation I will provide you with a good
sense of these different elements. I will describe
the Plot Diagram, Plot Elements,
Characterization, Setting, Point of View, and
Theme. To help display the idea of these
different elements I will be using examples from
the story The Gift of the Magi. To start off I will
describe the Plot Elements and show you a Plot
Diagram.

Plot Elements

ExpositionIntroduction of settings & characters


Sets the tone & mood
Provides background information

Inciting Incident

Event that introduces the central conflict

Rising ActionDevelops conflict and complications


Leads to climax

Climax

Falling Action

Events that follow the climax

Resolution

High point of interest or suspense

Central conflict is ended

DnouementWhat follows the resolution


Ties up loose ends

Plot Diagram
Climax

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Exposition

Inciting
Incident

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Resolution

Dnouement

Exposition
Inciting
Incident

Income was shrunk


Introduced to Mrs. James
Dillingham Young (Della)
Introduced to Mr. James
Dillingham Young (Jim)

Exposition

Climax

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Resolution
Dnouement

Need present
for each other

Inciting Incident

Exposition

Inciting
Incident

Climax

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Resolution

Dnouement

Jims gold watch is a


prized possession

Dellas long hair is a


prized possession

Shes been
saving for
months and
only has $1.87

Rising Action

Climax

Exposition
Inciting
Incident
in
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Ri
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Fa
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Resolution
Dnouement

Climax

Della Cuts Her Hair


Climax

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Exposition

Inciting
Incident

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Fa
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Resolution

Dnouement

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Exposition

Inciting
Incident

Fa
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Climax

Gets money for


present
Searches store for
present

Falling Action

Ac
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Resolution

Dnouement

Climax

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Exposition

Inciting
Incident

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Fa
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Ac
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Buys Jim a nice gold


chain for watch

Resolution

Resolution

Dnouement

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Exposition
Inciting
Incident
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Resolution

Fa
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Jim sold watch to buy


combs for Dellas hair
Della sold her hair to
buy chain for Jims
watch
They gave each other

Climax

Dnouement

Dnouement

Dnouement
The Dnouement is what follows the resolution and
ties up loose ends. In the dnouement for The Gift
of the Magi Jim sold his watch to buy combs for
Dellas hair and Della sold her hair to buy a chain
for Jims watch. This shows how two people love
each other so much they sold their prized
possession to buy a gift for the other. They are
wise like the magi because they know that their
love for each other will never die if they think of
the other person first and dont place material
objects in front of the other.

Characterization
Characterization are all the things that make up a
character including looks, feelings, thoughts, etc.
We can find these things out through direct and
indirect characterization. In The Gift of the Magi
the major characters are Jim and Della, and
Madame Sofronie as a minor character. The author
uses indirect characterization. This is when the
reader uses clues that are given to figure out
information about the character. The different parts
of a story the reader could look at are speech,
thoughts, effects on others, actions, and
appearance.

One example of indirect characterization in The


Gift of the Magi is when Della is looking at her hair
and the narrator states her eyes were shining
brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within
twenty seconds. The reader could infer from this
that she is very fond of her hair and wants to keep
it, but realizes she needs to cut it for money.
Another would be when the reader forms an idea of
what Della looks like when the narrator says So
now Dellas beautiful hair fell about her rippling
and shining like a cascade of brown waters. When
Della cuts her hair this shows how she is a loving
person and thinks of others before herself. The last
example I will talk about is the effect Della has on
Jim. This is when he talks about how he still loves
Della even though she cut her hair. As a reader you
could infer that Della has a lovable personality and

Setting
The setting of a story is the location as well
as the time in which it occurs. The setting of
a story tells the reader many things. The
physical details of setting can become
linked with values, ideas, and attitudes. It
also gives us clues about the theme of a
story.

To help understand the story The Gift of the Magi


it is important to know when and where it takes
place. The story resides in New York City around
Christmas. This is important because it gives us a
reason as to why Jim and Della need gifts for each
other. The narrator states, In the vestibule below
was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and
an electric button from which no mortal finger
could coax a ring. The reader could use this to
infer information about the characters background
and that the Dillingham Youngs had money
difficulties in the past.

Point of View
Point of view is the way the author allows you to
see and hear what's going on. A story can be
written in first person, second person, third person
omniscient, or third person limited. First person is
when the reader sees the story through the
narrators eyes. Second person is when the reader
is drawn into the story. Third person omniscient is
when every characters thoughts are open to the
reader. Third person limited is when the reader is
open to one characters thoughts and actions.

Throughout The Gift of the Magi the narrator uses


words like they, he, and her, which are key words in
deciding that a story is written in third person. We
can further narrow down the point of view to being
third person limited. This is because the narrator
follows Della throughout the story and not Jim. A rare
thing that happens in this story is that it occasionally
comes out of third person narration and into second
person narration. This shows up in a couple of
paragraphs when there are words such as you, and I.
In the beginning of The Gift of the Magi the tone
would be sad and serious, because Della cannot
purchase a present for Jim. But as the reader nears
the end, the tone changes to happy and loving
because Della and Jim both realize the other loves
them very much.

Theme
The theme of a story is the idea or view about life
that the story expresses. There are many different
ways to uncover theme. Such as asking questions
or finding different allusions made through out the
story. To find theme you can look in places such as
the title, repeating patterns, details, and what a
character learns.

The theme of The Gift of the Magi is, that the wisest
people know our love means more than material things.
Looking at the title for clues can be helpful because it
tells us about the Magi. The character Della also learns
that this is true when her and Jim sold their prized
possessions and bought useless gifts but still love each
other. One example would be when Jim states, I dont
think theres anything in the way a haircut or a shave or
a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less.
This shows that he loves her no matter what she does
or doesnt have. Another example about being wise and
thinking of others is when the narrator states, O all
who give and receive gifts, such they are the wisest.

Conclusion
As I have stated before, understanding the
Elements of Literature is very important to
get the full effect of a story. I have provided
you with a good sense of these different
elements and how they apply to The Gift of
the Magi. You know have a good idea of
what a plot diagram, plot elements,
characterization, setting, point of view, and
theme are. I hope you can use these to help
you comprehend any story when you need
it.