by O. Henry
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Excerpt from 'A Christmas Carol': The Second of the Three Spirits
- Charles Dickens
In one of Dickens' best known works, A Christmas Carol, a greedy old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited in the night by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns that he must change his selfish ways before it is too late. In this excerpt, the third chapter of the book, Scrooge meets the second of three spirits: the gregarious Ghost of Christmas Present.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “Excerpt from A Christmas Carol: The Second of Three Spirits” and ask students to discuss the messages or morals in each text. What do these texts say about family and giving?
Excerpt from 'A Christmas Carol': Marley's Ghost
- Charles Dickens
In the first chapter of A Christmas Carol, titled “Marley’s Ghost,” a greedy old miser by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge is visited in the night by an old friend, who warns him to change his ways before it is too late.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “Excerpt from A Christmas Carol: Marley’s Ghost” to show two sides of the spirit of Christmas.
- Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) was an Italian writer, poet, and a Renaissance humanist. In this story from The Decameron, a man loses everything for his love of a beautiful and wealthy woman in an ironic twist of fate.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “Federigo’s Falcon” and ask students to compare the relationships between money, sacrifice, and love.
I Am Offering This Poem
- Jimmy Santiago Baca
In this poem by American poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the speaker offers the only thing they have: this poem and their love.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “I Am Offering This Poem” and ask students to discuss the relationships between money, sacrifice, and love.
- Guy de Maupassant
In “The Necklace,” a poor woman borrows an expensive necklace for a fancy ball. When the necklace goes missing, the woman and her husband spend years living in poverty in order to pay back the debt.Pair "The Necklace" with "The Gift of the Magi" and ask students to compare and contrast the message and theme of each.
Would You Marry a Stranger?
- Jessica McBirney
This text provides an overview of arranged marriage today, including the cultural and historical trends that have influenced the practice.Pair the “The Gift of the Magi” with “Would You Marry a Stranger” to begin a discussion of what makes a happy marriage. How do Jim and Della show their love for each other? Does their relationship reflect the central ideas of the informational text?
The Third Wish
- Joan Aiken
In “The Third Wish,” Joan Aiken tells the story of a man who asks for three wishes after rescuing the King of the Forest.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “The Third Wish” and ask students to compare the similar themes of the two texts. What sacrifices do the characters of these two texts make for the people they love?
The Stolen Party
- Liliana Heker
In “The Stolen Party,” Liliana Heker tells the story of a girl who is invited to her friend’s party, whose family also employs her mother as their housekeeper.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “The Stolen Party” and ask student to discuss the similar plot devices that the authors of the two texts use. How do surprise endings help reveal the themes of the texts? Does this effect readers' understanding of the themes?
A Present for Mrs. Robertson
- Meg Medina
In “A Present for Mrs. Robertson,” Maria Elisa finds the perfect gift for her favorite teacher, but it is not the gift she ends up giving.Pair “The Gift of the Magi” with “A Present for Mrs. Robertson” to provide students with another story about exchanging gifts during Christmas. Ask students to compare the themes in the two stories about gift-giving. Why do the characters in both stories experience anxiety about finding and giving gifts? How do the characters in both stories respond to the gifts they are given? Why do they respond in this way?