The Gift of the Magi



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The Gift of the Magi” Multiple Choice Quiz

1. Della only has ______ to spend on a Christmas present for her husband.

a. $1.87 b. $2.37 c. $8.21 d. $12.54
2. “There was nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl.” This quotation shows Della’s sense of __________.

a. responsibility b. anger c. grief d. helplessness


3. “There was nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl.” Which word in this quoted sentence indicates the couple’s poverty?

a. nothing b. flop c. shabby d. howl


4. “Life is made up of sobs, sniffles and smiles …” is an example of ____.

a. simile b. personification c. alliteration d. onomatopoeia


5. When O. Henry describes the entrance to the apartment building, his depiction of the foyer further points out the couple’s destitution. “In the vestibule below was a letter box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring.” The “electric button” is the doorbell that does not ring because ________.

a. they have no visitors b. it is broken c. it was never installed


6. Jim’s full name is “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” “The letters of ‘Dillingham’ looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D.” This quote is an example of ____.

a. simile b. personification c. alliteration d. onomatopoeia


7. “Della finished her cry … and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard.” The repetition of the word “gray” reinforces the _________ mood.

a. colorful b. holiday c. dreary d. boring


8. Jim’s gold watch, his finest possession, is a family heirloom, inherited from his _______.

a. father b. uncle c. godfather d. father-in-law


9. Della’s finest possession is her hair. “Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window … just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts.” This biblical reference alludes to a famous ancient Arabian monarch known for her wealth and beauty. The purpose of this comparison is to show how _____ Della’s hair is.

a. long b. magnificent c. shiny d. blond


10. O. Henry also includes a biblical reference concerning Jim’s watch. Jim’s gold watch is so exquisite even King _______ would “pluck at his beard in envy.”

a. Herod b. David c. Solomon d. Saul


11. Della looks into the “pier glass between the windows of the room. … [her] beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters.” This quotation contains an example of ______.

a. simile b. personification c. alliteration d. onomatopoeia


12. Della’s hair reaches her ________.

a. shoulders b. waist c. knees d. calves


13. Della decides to go to Madame Sofronie, the owner of a hair and wig shop. Della sells her hair for _____.

a. $10 b. $20 c. $50 d. $100


14. Della tells Madame Sofronie, “Give it to me quick,” because Della does not want to ________.

a. cry b. tell Jim c. waste time d. change her mind


15. After getting the money from selling her hair, Della looks for two hours to find the perfect Christmas gift for Jim, “a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone, and not by meretricious ornamentation.” The fob reminds Della of both Jim and his watch; the chain possesses “quietness and value;” its appeal and worth are proclaimed in its ________ and unadorned design.

a. intricate b. plain c. glossy d. expensive


16. Della wants a proper watch chain for Jim because his beautiful watch only has an old __________.

a. leather strap b. worn ribbon c. faded band d. broken buckle


17. In an attempt to minimize her hair cut, Della uses a curling iron. O. Henry uses a simile to describe the finished product. “Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a __________.”

a. child’s doll b. scared porcupine c. truant schoolboy d. comical puppet


18. When Jim comes home from work, the description of his clothing also accentuates the young couple’s poverty; “He needed a new overcoat and he was without _______.”

a. a scarf b. boots c. gloves d. all of these


19. When Jim first sees Della with her hair short, he has an expression “she could not read. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror …” This quotation is an example of ________.

a. repetition b. parallel structure c. metaphor d. symbolism


20. Jim finds it hard to believe Della has cut and sold her hair. Almost in shock, he asks about her hair cut more than once. Initially, Della thinks her husband does not like the way she looks without her long hair. To reassure him, she repeatedly says she’ll _________.

a. buy a wig b. wear a scarf c. grow it out again d. all of these


21. When Della opens her present, she understands Jim’s reaction to her haircut. Jim has bought the expensive set of ______ of “pure tortoise shell, with jeweled rims” she has admired and wanted for quite some time.

a. headbands b. combs c. hair pins d. all of these


22. After Della opens her present, she gives Jim the watch chain and wants him to put his watch on it right away. Instead he sits down on the couch and smiles. He then tells her he sold his watch to buy her present. O. Henry describes his story as “the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children who most unwisely sacrificed for each other [their] greatest treasures.” Then he states, “Of all who give gifts these two were the wisest.” This apparent contradiction reflects the Magi, the Wise Men, who brought gifts of great _______ to the Baby Jesus.

a. value b. appeal c. wisdom d. usefulness


23. Jim and Della’s dinner, _______, could possibly be a pun on her haircut.

a. soup b. porridge c. mash d. chops


24. O. Henry’s biblical allusion to the Magi elevates a poor couple’s dilemma about buying Christmas gifts for each other to the level of the New Testament story of the Wise Men. This short story is about two young lovers who sacrifice their most prized possessions; it is a classic example of ________.

a. irony b. understatement c. flashback d. juxtapositioning


25. The theme of this story is that Jim and Della’s love for each other is much more valuable than any _______.

a. material gift b. expensive dinner c. person’s opinion d. verbal expressions of love



***KEY*** “The Gift of the Magi” Multiple Choice Quiz ***KEY***

1. a


2. d

3. c


4. c

5. b


6. b

7. c


8. a

9. b


10. c

11. a


12. c

13. b


14. d

15. b


16. a

17. c


18. c

19. b


20. c

21. b


22. a

23. d


24. a

25. a


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