The Gift of the Magi

Theme in Literary Texts

Work Time

What you identified as aphorisms in “The Gift of the Magi” can also be called the story’s themes .

Take a moment to think about what you’ve learned so far about identifying the theme in literary texts.

With a partner, consider these two possible themes from “The Gift of the Magi.”

  • Which do you think is a better theme? Why?
    • The theme of “The Gift of the Magi” is that a husband and wife love each other so much that they each give up something that they value to buy the other a gift.
    • The theme of “The Gift of the Magi” is that there is more joy in giving a gift than in receiving a gift.

Discuss your thoughts with your classmates. Do you think that a theme should be general and universal rather than specific to the story itself?