The author, O. Henry, wrote The Gift of the Magi, which is a story about how a married couple goes out of their own way to show compassion and love for one another by their gifts. They sacrifice their most precious possessions in order to have enough money for each other’s gifts. The author, Ascher, wrote On Compassion, which is an article that gives her opinion and feeling toward compassion and how it is used in the modern day. She uses examples of what she has seen and gives her thought about it. Both of these stories convey compassion and ways it could be used. The authors, O. Henry and Ascher, use simile, imagery, and irony to show the readers that compassion comes from loves towards that person.
The literary device, simile, brings together the two stories about their love for one another. Della cuts her hair for Jim to get the money for his gift, which shows her love for Jim. Della’s head was covered in, “close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant school boy.” Della cared for Jim so much and wanted to get him a wonderful gift, so she sold her hair, which was her greatest belonging, in order to get his magnificent gift. After Della gets her hair cut off, she begins to worry about what Jim thinks of her new hairdo. This shows her love for Jim and his opinion is very important to her. Della says to herself, “If Jim doesn’t kill me… before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island Girl.” Della’s compassionate heart wants Jim to like her haircut, since she cares about what Jim thinks. Della’s love for Jim is evident and authentic. In, On Compassion, the mother gave the homeless man the money out of care for the man. After waiting some time, “the mother grows impatient and pushes the stroller before her, bearing the dollar like a cross.” The mother, even though she didn’t know him, cared and loved that man enough to give him some money, which shows her love coming out as compassion. The French woman, owner of the coffee shop, gives a man free food out of love and compassion for him. After getting the food, “the moody French women emerges from the kitchen… he accepts the offering as silently as he came, and is gone.” The women saw the man in need of food so out of affection for him, she gave him free food. These quotes show how one person is thinking of another without a selfish thought. Della, the mother and the French coffee owner cared for someone and loved them enough to make a sacrifice that would benefit the other person. Just like these ladies have showed compassion to others, Della and a coffee shop owner do the same.
The literary device, imagery, puts a picture in your mind so vividly about their love for each other. Della cuts her hair for Jim out of love for him, in order to get him the perfect gift. Della says, “will you buy my hair? I buy hair, said Madame. Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it. Down rippled the brown cascade.” Della does this to hair so she would have enough money for a gift that Jim would be pleased with. Compassion and love for Jim drove Della to this selfless sacrifice. Jim did the same for Della when he sold his watch for Della’s combs. He did this out of love for Della and had compassion on her and took action by selling his watch in order to have enough money for her combs. Jim got Della combs that were, “beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jeweled rims- just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair.” Jim cared for Della and wanted to get her something that would compliment her best feature, her hair, and did this altruistically out of love for Della. A owner of an coffee shop had compassion for a homeless man and his circumstances. After seeing the homeless man, “the owner of the shop, a moody French woman, emerges from the kitchen with steaming coffee in a styrofoam cup and a small paper bag.” This shows how the owner cares and loves the man enough to