Three: A Magic Number
In “The Gift of the Magi,” the number three figures prominently. Consider the following:
- The story has three characters: Della, Jim, and Madame Sophronie.
- Della counts her money three times (Paragraph 1).
- The narrator says that “Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles (Paragraph 2).
- The story refers three times to the Youngs’ supper entree: chops.
- The story mentions the Queen of Sheba, who gave three types of gifts to King Solomon: spices, gold, and jewels.
- A sentence in Paragraph 5 says, “She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard.”
- Jim tells Della, I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less.
- The narrator alliteratively describes Della as speaking with “sudden serious sweetness.”
- The were three magi: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar.
- The magi offered three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
- According to tradition, the magi were kings of Arabia, Persia, and India.
- The story centers on three valuables: Jim’s gold watch, Della’s hair, and the love Jim and Della share.