The main themes in this short story are that people do not need money to express love,
and the true meaningof Christmas. Things such as the characters, setting, and events
contribute to the theme.
The characters Della and Jim have very little money, and yet they express their
love by eachselling their greatest treasures. Della sells her hair and Jim sells his watch. If
they were both wealthy people, the story would have most likely have changed for the
worse. Since these peoplemake very little money, their gifts come more from the heart
and show how much they care about each other.
Having the story set in a big city impacted the theme of the story. Life is morestressful in the city, especially for those who are less fortunate. The difference of the
setting being in the city rather than a small town, is that the cities often have many people
who cannotafford expensive presents. The city has people just like Della and Jim who
can only afford to have presents from the heart.
The events have a large role in the theme of people expressing theirlove without
money. Della sells her hair to buy a watch chain for Jim. Jim sells his watch to buy an
set of combs for Della. In the end they each end up not being able to use the
giftsbut realize how much affection they each have. O. Henry describes the scene where
Della is preparing to go sell her hair very vividly. “So now Della's beautiful hair fell
about her rippling andshining like a cascade of brown waters...Once she faltered for a
minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.” This just
shows how much they have to sacrifice toexpress love without money.
This story’s morals and themes show how ignorant people today are compared to
then. Modern people use more money than love on presents during the holidays....