Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Gift of the Magi

O'Henry wrote one of the most fundoofied texts of all time: The Gift of the Magi. It starts like this:

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And
sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two
at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and
the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent
imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.


And then it carries on till the end, a story of two innocent people much in love with each other. What I absolutely love about it is the language; phases such as:
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He
enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with
discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other
direction.


What a vivid way to write! It's like a little jigsaw puzzle in which you can clearly see the next piece in your head while reading each sentence. Coax yourself to read it again and every time you read that other thing you missed in your last reading, and suddenly, a new picture emerges. Tresses, watches, gifts and Christmas. It's a simple story, written in brilliant language.

I wish that one day I will write like that. For he conveys, in a few words elaborately juxtaposed, a meaning I would take a tome to describe.

2 Comments:

Anonymous chipmunk said...

Aaah...the language is a bit of a mind twister :D ... when i come to the end of a sentence i am sure i will forget what the starting was...I got a v short memory span u know hehe tough reading this will be! :D but i ma borrowin this book from the library to "test" it out anwyas, thanks...! :P

3:04 PM, November 24, 2006  
Anonymous chipmunk said...

haha, omg! seems like i have a v bad memory lol this story was tought in our english class when i was in the 3rd grade! :D i just found it online...! this story along with so many other words added the word cascade for the v first time to my vocabulary(della's hair is described that way?) and i havent forgotten that bit... heh

looks like i gotta catch up on ma readin! man... :D

3:23 PM, November 24, 2006  

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