Love: Is it Worth the Sacrifice?

Hey! Over here! I read a few short stories and I would like to tell you a little

bit about how they compare and contrast. The stories are: “The Gift of the Magi,” by

O. Henry, and “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant. “The Gift of the Magi” centers

around a couple who are unselfish and very much in love. They sacrificed their most

prized possessions for each other. In “The Necklace,” the story also involves a couple,

but greed and selfishness controls the plot.

Jim and Della were a young married couple, like Mr. and Mme. Loisel, who were

immature and foolish. They both lived in run down, shabby flats in big cities. The

apartments were dark and dreary, which symbolized something bad might happen.

These were both times of depression where there was very little money around, so there

were many other couples like them. In the beginning, Della is counting her money and

crying, which shows she was very poor. Mrs. Loisel often cried a lot, like Della. She

cried about not having enough money and about the invitation her husband got for her.

Both husbands had similar jobs, both which did not pay a lot. Jim was in love with his

wife, and would do anything for her, as would Mr. Loisel. Both couples were very

thrifty when it came to money. Since they were poor, they were good at saving their

money for items they needed, like groceries, and for special purposes. Both of these

stories had themes, though the themes are very different from each other. Jim and

Della taught us that it was better to give than to receive because even though the gifts

were worthless, they still knew how much each gift meant; how much love was put into

it, so love conquers all. With the Loisels, they showed us that honesty is the best

policy. If they would have been honest and told Mme. Forestier they lost the necklace

they probably would have just had to replace the necklace with a lot less money than

what they had replaced it with.

In these stories, the main conflict is internal conflict (a.k.a. Man vs. Himself). In

these times of depression, only the strong at heart could survive. In “The Gift of the

Magi” Jim and Della had internal conflicts when they were very low on money, and did

not have enough to buy Christmas presents for each other. They overcame their

problem by selling their most prized possessions to get enough money for the presents.

In “The Necklace” Mr. and Mrs. Loisel’s conflict was not that they wanted to buy

something, but they had to. They had to replace a necklace they had lost with ten long

years of anguish, sometimes not having enough money to buy groceries. Another

analogy is that their endings are both very ironic. Jim and Della sold their most

prized possessions to buy Christmas presents for each other. The ironic part was that

their presents were for their most prized possessions, so the presents were useless.



With the Loisels, they found out that the thirty-six thousand-Franc necklace was only

worth about five hundred Francs, so the pain and anguish was for nothing. There were

symbols in each of the stories, which represented something larger than itself. The

presents Jim and Della bought for each other symbolized love and sacrifice because

they gave up their favorite thing for each other. In “The Necklace,” the necklace

symbolized riches and wealth in the beginning because of the party Mrs. Loisel used it

for. It was a higher social status than what she belonged to, but the necklace made her

look like she belonged. At the end, it symbolized poverty and a wasted life because

they spent all those years paying the debt of a stupid necklace.

Unlike Della who loved and cared for Jim, Mme. Loisel was greedy, dishonest,

and did not love her husband. She was a huge whiner who was always looking for

attention, and often used people. Mr. Loisel was very different from his wife because

he loved her very much, and gave her everything he could. They both had to make a

big decision. Since Jim and Della were unselfish and