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Sacrifices of Love

By , Randolph, NJ

     In order to succeed in relationships, there must be compromises.  As time passes by, decisions progressively become more difficult.  Decisions are especially tough when the outcome affects multiple people.  Regardless of the severity of the problem at hand, there is never a perfect option.  In the short stories, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, and “The Lady of the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton, the authors utilize compromises to investigate the sacrifices that coincide with love.
     Throughout the short stories, the characters, Della and the princess, portray the struggles and hardships that occur with the powerful emotions of love.  Both stories have characters that are demanded to choose their personal happiness or happiness for their beloved.  Jim and Della faced difficult situations, specifically when Della sold her luxurious hair: “So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her… and then she put it up on her head again, nervously and quickly.  Once she stopped for a moment and stood still while a tear or two ran down her face” (Henry 3).  The reader is notified that this is not a simple decision for Della when she is described to be sulking.  This reveals that she has an immense amount of feelings for Jim, however no amount of love could make selling her long and beautiful hair easy.  She appears to be in a state of melancholy as she gets rid of her most prized possession.  Although Della is temporarily upset, this showcase of love was dedicated to the betterment of Jim.  On the other hand, the princess’s love is put to the test with her lover being put in the arena to blindly pick his fate.  Standing behind one door was a ferocious beast, and behind the other door was a breathtaking lady.  The princess is presented with a tough situation because “she knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady,” which decides if the man lives or dies (Stockton 5). If the man survives or not depends on the signaling of the princess.  He full heartedly believes and trusts his semi-barbaric princess, hoping that he is lead to the continuation of life.  Alternatively, the princess could send him straight to his death.  This complicated question can only be solved by love.  The authors demonstrate that sometimes being selfless is necessary to ensure the well-being of others.
     The power of love is highlighted through the countless sacrifices people make.  Although the choices Della and the princess have to make are troublesome and undesirable, the outcomes are derived from the passion each character had for eachother.  Being poor means that Jim and Della must exchange an item that they treasure for an item that their partner will treasure.  As written in the story, “Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other” (Henry 6).  They put their significant others before themselves; the true meaning of love.  The sacrifices Jim and Della made were intended to bring joy upon the other.  Instead of being selfish and keeping their individual precious accessories, Jim and Della replaced it for a meaningful gift.  The readers are unsure if this altruistic action was duplicated by the princess because Stockton leaves the story as a mystery.  However, she has the opportunity to decide her love’s fate with the ultimate display of affection.  The princess could act selfishly or caringly based on her hand signal to the specific door.  The author explains, “her soul at a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy.  She had lost him, but who should have him?” (Stockton 5).  This predicament that the princess faces could result in two ways.  If she sends him to the lady’s door, he will get married to that maiden and the princess would have to witness him being happy with someone else.  On the contrary, the princess could act out of jealousy and possessively send him to his death so no one else could have him.  If the princess truly loved the man, she would sacrifice her feelings for him and let him live.  Ultimately, all compromises derived from admiration, have the common interest to pursue love. 
     In every relationships there are obstacles that are not so easy to overcome.  People do not always have similar perspectives and ideas that can create havoc.  Despite these differences, love will excel if there are sacrifices made to avoid termination.  Equally to a relationship, not everything in life comes easy.  To achieve and succeed, there must be some sort of accommodation in every situation.






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