Teacher Guide

The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories Lesson Plan

Introduction to The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories

O. Henry, prolific American short story writer, wrote over 300 stories in his lifetime. Nineteen of those stories, written across his career, are included in this lesson plan. Henry was known for writing about a wide range of the population and the stories selected here feature criminals, housewives, wealthy businessmen, cab drivers, and poets. While these stories serve as examples of the satirical wit, stylistic flair, and trademark surprise endings for which Henry was beloved, they also epitomize extremely problematic racist and patriarchal values. Oppressive societal mores and interpersonal dynamics are embedded in Henry's idealized depictions of the daily lives of working people....

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