"The Gift of the Magi" Literary Elements

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The Gift of the Magi Literary Devices

Example



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Activity Overview


“The Gift of the Magi” contains a number of literary devices that can be taught alongside the story. Storyboards can be a simple way for students to identify and explain examples of these devices. Visual representation can also improve students’ retention of the concepts. Have students depict scenes, characters, or objects that convey examples of some of the following: symbols, irony, intrusive narrator, figurative language, allusion. Below each square, students should explain their reasoning.


Example “The Gift of the Magi” Literary Devices

Symbolism

The expensive objects Della and Jim buy each other are symbolic of their love. The items themselves have very little meaning - in fact, the couple puts them away for the time being. The selfless sacrifice that they represent, however, makes them precious.


Irony

The end of the story is an example of situational irony. Each character is faced with a circumstance that is the opposite of what they expected. This irony adds a trademark O. Henry's twist to the end of the story.


Intrusive Narrator

The narrator of "The Gift of the Magi" intrudes upon the story multiple times. When he draws our attention away from the characters and speaks directly to the readers, he is making his presence obvious to the reader. Like an actor breaking the fourth wall, he tells us to look away when Della and Jim are embracing.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows four examples of literary elements in “The Gift of the Magi”.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify use of literary devices in the text.
  3. Put the type of literary device in the title box.
  4. Give an example from the text in the description box.
  5. Illustrate the example using using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.

3 Cell Spider Map

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