The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry)

The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry)

Assignment № 1.

The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry)

I. Pronunciation checkpoint: transcribe the words

magi (pl.), magus (sing.)

parsimony (n.), parsimonious (adj.)

agile

meretricious

laboriously

feminine

coveted

manger

chronicle

II. Vocabulary checkpoint: explain the meaning of the words and word combinations, use them in the context of the story and your own sentences.

close dealings (p.132)

to subside from … to …(p.132)

to beggar description (p.132)

to be on the lookout for sth (p.132)

sterling (adj.) (p.133)

to master the art of doing sth (p.133)

to collect oneself (134)

to ransack stores for sth (p.134)

on the sly (p.134)

to give way to sth (p.134)

to have sb going a while The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) (p.136)

III. Fill the gaps with appropriate prepositions.

  1. Della finished her cry and attended _______ her cheeks ______ the powder rag. (p.133)
  2. She couldn’t imagine how to buy Jim a present ______ this little money. (133)
  3. They both took a mighty pride ______ those two possessions. (p.133)
  4. She did her hair _____ again quickly and left the house. (p.134)
  5. In search of a proper gift for Jim Della practically turned all the stores ____ ___ (p.134)
  6. ____ that chain ____ his watch Jim might be properly anxious _______ the time ____ any company. (p.134)

7. No matter how beautiful his watch was, he didn’t look ____ it very often _____ account The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) ____ the old leather strap that he used ____ place ____ a chain. (p. 134)

  1. Her heart craved and yearned _____ the combs ______ the least hope ____ possession. (p.137)

IV. Translate the sentences using the vocabulary and syntactical structures of the story.

  1. Ничего не оставалось делать, как взвыть. (р.132)
  2. У нее было только 20 рублей, на которые нужно было купить другу подарок.

(р. 133)

  1. Пейзаж был такой прекрасный, что невозможно было описать словами. (р. 132)
  2. На 200 рублей в неделю не разбежишься. (р. 133)
  3. Я провела 2 часа, бегая по магазинам в поисках подарка на день рождения моему брату. (р. 134)
  4. Я практически вывернула все магазины наизнанку, но так ничего The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) и не нашла. (р.134)
  5. Через некоторое время мой гнев сменился депрессией. (р. 134)
  6. Думаю, что никакая стрижка, хоть и наголо, не заставит меня любить тебя меньше. (р.136)
  7. Она вожделенно мечтала о таком подарке, не питая ни малейшей надежды когда-нибудь его получить. (р. 137)
  8. Ну разве это не прелесть? (р.137)

V. Discussion Guide.

  1. What is the setting of the story: time and place.
  2. How many characters are in the story? Name them, give a brief character sketch using the vocabulary of the text.
  3. Which character speaks the following lines and what do these lines tell us about their character? Retell the The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) story by putting the lines in order.

a) And now suppose you put the chops on.

b) Will you buy my hair?

c) I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs.

d) You’ve cut off your hair?

e) Isn’t it a dandy?

f) What could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?

g) Don’t you like me just as well, anyway?

h) You won’t care, will you?

i) Let’s have a sight at the looks of it.

  1. “…life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” How The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) so? Provide your comments.
  2. “Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for… him.” How did Della feel about spending time on planning a present? How do you feel about planning presents for your friends? Does it take you long? Does the process make you happy?
  3. “Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its colour within twenty seconds.” What caused such contrasting changes in Della? Have you got a most prized possession? How did you come by it? Would you give it up if you were in Della’s place?
  4. “She … went The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love.” Why is it a “mammoth task”?
  5. A story usually has one main theme and several minor themes. Below is the list of themes that can be found in ”The Gift of the Magi”. Explain how O’Henry uses each theme.



Beauty Family Giving Identity Love Money Sacrifice Wisdom

  1. Usually, an author’s theme can be stated in terms that resemble familiar sayings or proverbs. Read the following English sayings. Are there similar sayings in Russian? Can you translate these ones into English?

a) Love is the greatest gift of The Gift of the Magi (by O’Henry) all

b) Money can’t buy you love.

c) A gift must come from the heart.

d) Beauty comes from within.

e) It’s more blessed to give than to receive.

Which of the five sayings best describes the main theme of “The Gift of the Magi”?

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