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Writers of literacy appreciation use a variety of approaches to express the subject they wish to explore. One of the most common instruments is realism. As a result, literature is a mirror of culture, presenting events as they appear. This method attempts to explain culture in terms of human actions and surroundings exactly as they exist, with no changes. O. Henry uses the style of prose, setting, situations, characters, and vocabulary to convey the concept of realism in his short story titled "The Gift of the Magi." In line with literature’s core purpose of reflecting what happens in the society, realism helps Henry to correctly address underlying issues in the society as they are.
Firstly, realism in the narrative can be seen in the setting. All the events of the story take place on a Christmas Eve at a drab flat in a gray city. Jim and Della, who are the major characters, live in a very unassuming flat that vividly brings out their poverty. Thus, their poor status forces the two lovers to make sacrifices; thereby, making them meaningful. The writer illustrates the house with substantial details to put across an image of its squalor. Realism is demonstrated by the fact that their dwelling is cheap, has a broken mailbox, and is sparsely furnished, as well as has a broken doorbell. Also, the action of the narrative depends on the fact that Charismas presents the urge for Della to purchase a present regardless of the small amount of money she has. This setting significantly demonstrates the writer’s realism technique.
Secondly, the author’s writing style reveals noteworthy realism. The story is told in a way that it sounds that someone was telling it loudly. Henry achieves this effect by breaking grammar rules. For instance, the opening sentence “One dollar and eighty-seven cent.” Furthermore, it can be noted that it lacks a verb and action. The audience needs to know more about what that amount of money does or means. Even though the subsequent sentence has a verb, it is as well incomplete. The subject, “which," is vague, and only makes sense due to the first sentence. This style of writing helps the writer to describe the characters vividly by the kind of language they use irrespective of the grammar errors that they commit; thus, contributing to the realism aspect of the narrative.
Thirdly, the characters in the story depict realism. Della, as described by the writer, owns nothing luxurious. She is happy and contented with her husband and the love they share. Regardless of her young age, Della has no problem with the things provided by Jim such as a small apartment and goes beyond the unexpected to buy a Christmas present for the husband. Normally, this type of character cannot is rare among many young women because they always target luxuries and living their lives in a sophisticated way. Therefore, the author manages to illustrate the real characteristics of the characters thus realism.
There are other literacy techniques that can be used by writers, but realism is widely utilized. In summary, stories are meant to address various issues in the society. Realism helps authors to present real life situations. This can be achieved by the writing style, the characters, and the setting. As opposed to narratives based on romanticism, realistic ones can be used to correctly assess and criticize the society.
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