The Strength of Love in the Short Story “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry and the Poem “How Do I Love Thee?” by E.E. Browning

Last Updated: 07 Jan 2023
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In the short story "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry and the poem "How do I Love Thee? (Sonnet XLIII)" by E. B. Browning, they both complement and relate to the theme that love is stronger than anything. In the story, the author uses imagery, metaphors, similes, and foreshadowing to make the story more interesting and to highlight the main points. When the author says, "So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters.

It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her.” he is using imagery to emphasize and to paint a picture of how beautiful and important her hair was, not just to her. The author also uses a simile, "And then Della leaped up like a singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"" This shows that no matter what she did or what happened between them that she still wanted to be with him and she wanted to make sure that his love for her was just as strong and mutual despite the big sacrifices. In the last part of the story, Henry talks about the magi, whom are wise gift-giving creatures that sacrifice precious things with no doubt.

The author goes on to say "They are the magi." which is a metaphor meaning that they resemble the wise and compassionate gift giving creatures. Dell and Jim had such a strong passion towards one another that in the end nothing mattered accept the fact that they love each other. In the poem, there were many poetic devices. The poet used many metaphors to convey the strong and intense feelings of love for one another. First she used repetition of the phrase "I love thee" showing that she could express nearly an endless supply of metaphors and reasons of why she loves "thee”. The poet says "Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight."

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This metaphor means that through the days and the nights, she loves him all the time, everyday. She later says "I love thee with a passion put to use In my old grief's, and with my childhood's faith", as if to say that he could do anything and like a child, she would foresee it because of the strong love for him. Lastly, she says “I shall but love thee better after death."

This metaphor shows how she loved him to maybe the point of an exaggeration but she showed that no matter what, her love is eternal and never ending and possibly even stronger after death. These two pieces of work both have the theme that love is stronger than anything. The story shows that even though Della cut her hair and Jim sold his watch they still ended up being happy and still having a strong desire for each other and also in this poem, the poet strongly goes on to say that her love is so intense that she could foresee, forgive, and show unconditional love.

Eyes soften when she looks at him Pouts turn to smiles

That can be seen from miles

The ache in her heart is slipping away

But the calm before the storm is just awake

He watches her with burning eyes "please just stay."

The ache is back, worse than ever

Her heart is torn and broken

The air is thick with uneasy feelings

She grabs his hand

His eyes are focused on the ground

Not a sound can be heard from all around

Her spoken words "come with me."

She lifts a hand under his chin

Forced to look her in the eyes

A slight grin upon his pretty face

"I'll love you forever, I'd do anything for you" Eyes soften as they walk away

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The Strength of Love in the Short Story “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry and the Poem “How Do I Love Thee?” by E.E. Browning. (2023, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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