Unit 6 db: the symbols of your life (peer response)


Please respond to my peers’ initial responses by soonest. Be sure to comment on their analyses about the stories’ symbols, and the use of text support. Also, be sure to respond to their choice of symbols in their lives. What is your symbol? 


The Gift of the Magi and The Monkey’s paw are both filled with powerful symbolism throughout their stories. The first story, the The Gift of the Magi the first little piece of symbolism would be the shabby little couch that Della “flops down on” (Henry, 1905, para. 2). This to me symbolizes the tough economic times she and Jim are experiencing. Another symbolic piece of writing was when Della looked outside and saw “a gray cat walking on a gray fence in a gray backyard”( Henry, 1905, para. 6). This represented how hopeless things seemed  for Della and Jim.. I believe the symbolism is both directly and indirectly conveyed to the reader but in all instances the symbolism is left up to the reader’s interpretation. Each of the symbols affect the tone of the story in a way to lead the reader to think the story is headed one direction but instead takes a different path. 

In the Monkey’s Paw there’s a lot of symbolism and foreshadowing that makes the story intriguing. The beginning when the father loses to the son in chess and the mother says to the father “perhaps you’ll win the next one”( Jacobs, 1911, para. 7). I believe is indicative of the father wanting something more out of life. It also showed him losing to his son and later he lost his son in a machine accident. After the father’s first wish there was a “fine crash from the piano greeted his words” and the “monkey’s paw twisted in his hands” causing him to drop it. ( Jacobs, 1911, para. 57). After the son had died and the mother wanted to wish him back to life the father went to retrieve the monkey’s paw by going in the darkness, to the parlor and found it on the mantle piece. After the wish was made the burning candle was creating pulsating shadows on the wall. The final wish the father made was to have the possibility of his dead son knocking at the door to go away. When the third wish was executed the echoes of the knocking continued.

In both stories the symbolism sets the tone and theme of the story in a bleak desperate setting. Both stories were desperate but in different ways. A symbol that has been present in my life since I was a teenager is my guitar. Music is important in my life and playing guitar is a great stress reliever for me and in many ways is indicative of who I am.

Henry, O. (1905/2017). The gift of the magi. American Literature. Retrieved from https://americanliterature.com/author/o-henry/short-story/the-gift-of-the-magi 

Jacobs, W.W. (1911/2017). The monkey’s paw. American Literature. Retrieved from https://americanliterature.com/author/w-w-jacobs/short-story/the-monkeys-paw


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