The gift of the magi

Words: 101-200

Skills: Context Clues Summary

Grades: 9th 10th 11th 12th

Topics: Realistic Fiction

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range: 740L - 1050L

Lexile Measure: 780L

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Gift of the Magi


by O. Henry

"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry is a favorite Christmas short story. Published in 1910, it tells the story of two struggling newlyweds who love each other enough that they are willing to give up something dear to them in order to buy a Christmas present for the other. Students will read the opening paragraphs of the story and answer comprehension questions.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry
O. Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, wrote the short story “The Gift of the Magi.” It was published in 1910. Below are the opening paragraphs of the story.
 
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One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.  

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1.  Why is Della crying?



2. How did she get the money?  



3. What do you think "one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony" means?  
 


4. What does O. Henry mean by “with sniffles predominating”?