‘The Last Leaf’ and ‘The Gift of the Magi’ O. Henry Articles Comparison


“Maybe the hairs of my head could be counted,” she said, “but no one could ever count my love for you” (Henry, 1905).

This analytical report will compare two articles i.e., ‘The Last Leaf’ and ‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry. Both the articles are written by the same writer but he managers to deliver a different storyline in each piece of writing that will further be examined in the detail. However, the theme remains constant in both the articles which is about giving something important to someone else in life.

‘The Last Leaf’ and ‘The Gift of the Magi’ O. Henry Articles Comparison
‘The Last Leaf’ and ‘The Gift of the Magi’ O. Henry Articles Comparison

Comparison of the articles

‘The Gift of the Magi’ is a very unique and an emotionally driven story that focuses on a couple who do not have a lot of money but they manage to give each other a very important part of themselves as a gift. The wife named Della sells her hair to buy platinum pocket watch chain for her husband Jim. Jim on the other hand, sells the watch and buys ornamental combs for his wife. Both loose something for the other but gain a lot of love in return which is something that the author has conveyed to the readers.

The author is highlighting the importance of losing one’s own self for the other in order to attain a true level of love in a relationship. ‘The last leaf’ is about pneumonia epidemic in which the old artist saves life of a young neighbouring artist. The artist gives her a will to live which acts as an igniting factor thereby allowing her further to recover from her illness. As she was recovering, she noticed the dried leaves falling out of the tree one by one but one last leaf remained steadfast hanging on the tree.

By the end of the story, the female protagonist finds out that the old artist died of pneumonia himself. ““Look out the window, dear, at the last leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never moved when the wind was blowing?” (Henry, 1907). He had been painting the last leaf and gave his own life to give a meaning of life to someone else.

In both the stories, it is quite evident that the author has focussed on the things that exist beyond the material things i.e., by actually loving the humanity and people. Whatever an individual may possess, it ought to be passed on to someone else in order to give meaning to someone else’s life.

For instance, the artist did not create a masterpiece throughout his own life in ‘The last leaf’ but managed to make a piece that saved someone else’s life and became a beacon of light. He gave his own life to save someone else. Likewise, ‘The Gift of the Magi’ also focussed on giving the best of own self for someone else which helps in making the relationships stronger. Even though the only difference was depiction of relationship in both the stories but the actual essence was to love one another wholeheartedly.


Both the articles written by Henry could be regarded as of having paramount importance because they talk about compassion and real things that give meaning to life. Sometimes, it is just a simple friendly talk or a small gift that could have a lot of meaning in life later on. In conclusion, one must always focus on giving something to someone in life. 

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