Alexa RaphaelEnglish I (2) Ms. Jankoski14 December 2017Selfish Poor vs Selfless Poor In the short stories, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant and “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry both Mathilde and Della are different and alike in many ways. Mathilde is a very selfish character and does not have a lot of money. In despite of this, she still desires for a wealthy status. However, Della is the complete opposite. She is selfless and does not have a lot of money. She gives up her valuables or prized possessions just to get her husband a Christmas gift. Mathilde from “The Necklace” and Della from “The Gift of the Magi” have some similarities, but also have differences; both are poor yet Della is giving and cherishes her money while Mathilde is selfish and does not care about keeping her money. Della and Mathilde are similar in a way, by both being poor. For example, the author of “The Necklace” wrote, ” The poverty of her rooms… the shabby walls, and the worn furniture, the ugly upholstery… caused her pain” (de Maupassant 333). This quote explains that Mathilde was living in poverty. She had barely any money she could not afford to get nicer furniture than what she had. The reader can infer Mathilde is poor based on how she describes her house. This, then compared to Della when the author of ” The Gift of the Magi” wrote, “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saves one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable am and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony” (Henry 261). We know that Della is poor because as it stated in the quote that she only had one dollar and eighty-seven cents. She had also been saving this money for a long time, and by showing she was only able to get that much shows how poor she really is. On the other hand, Mathilde is materialistic and Della gives up her valued belongings for a person she cares about. We can see this because the author of “The Necklace” described Mathilde by writing, “She had no proper wardrobe, no jewels, nothing. And those were the only things she loved? she felt like she was made for them” (de Maupassant 334). This explains that she is greedy, and only cares about herself. We can infer that she loves jewels and her wardrobe more than she loves her own husband who is trying to make her happy by providing the family money. In contrast to this, Della makes a sacrifice of one of her most prized possessions. This is most evident when the author of “The Gift of the Magi” states, “So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about rippling and shining like a cascade of waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet” (Henry 262). This demonstrates that Della’s hair is her most prized possession because she is reluctant and upset about losing her long hair. This proves that she is the opposite of materialistic, because she loves her hair unlike Madame Loisel who loves things like jewelry, clothes, and desires a rich lifestyle. Della sacrificing her hair makes her selfless, and Madame Loisel being materialistic makes her greedy and selfish. Mathilde Loisel and Della are extremely different in terms of their personalities. Della Young is selfless(loving) while Madame Loisel is selfish is conceited as seen throughout the stories. Mathilde’s selfishness is seen when she talks to her husband. For example, “‘It’s hard to say exactly but I think I could manage with four hundred francs. He went pale, for that was exactly the amount he had put aside to buy a rifle so that he could go hunting the following summer near Nanterre, with a few friends who went shooting larks around there on Sundays. However he said: Well, all right. I’ll give you four hundred francs. But try to get something really nice” (de Maupassant 335). It is apparent that Mathilde Loisel is selfish because she forces her husband use his money on her. On the other hand Dellas selflessness is shown when she says, “‘Will you buy my hair?’ asked Della. “I buy hair,” said Mathilde. “Take (that?) hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.rue” Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della” (Henry 263). It is evident that Della is very selfless due to the fact she tries to sacrifice her hair to purchase a gift for her beloved husband. To conclude Della and Mathilde Loisel are similar because they are both poor, but they are different because Della is selfless and giving while Mathilde is greedy. Della’s selflessness is shown when she gives up her hair to buy her husband a gift. Mathilde is greedy because she wants to be rich, even though she is aware of her lack of wealth. Mathilde is poor because she doesn’t have enough money for all her riches. Della is also poor due to her husband’s pay cut and is unable to buy a gift without selling her hair. They have similarities in their lifestyle, but their differences can be seen within their personalities.