Non­fic­tion: Gifted Giv­ing

Poets and Writers - - The Time Is Now -

In O. Henry’s 1905 short story “The Gift of the Magi,” a young woman is in des­per­ate need of the per­fect Christ­mas present for her hus­band one day be­fore the hol­i­day. The two have fallen on hard times and find them­selves with lit­tle money and only a pair of prized pos­ses­sions: Della’s long brown hair and Jim’s gold watch. Della ends up sell­ing her hair to buy a watch-fob chain for Jim, only to dis­cover dur­ing the gift ex­change that Jim has sold his watch to buy her combs for her for­merly long hair. Think of a time when you’ve made a sig­nif­i­cant per­sonal sacri­fice in or­der to be­stow a gift or act of gen­eros­ity, or when some­one else has done the same for you. Write an es­say about the emo­tional jour­ney in­volved in com­mit­ting to such an act of kind­ness and self­less­ness. What feel­ings of con­flict or un­cer­tainty ac­com­pa­nied the sit­u­a­tion, and what out­comes made the sacri­fice worth it?

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