Living a Life of Poverty: The Reaction Essay Introduction

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Living a Life of Poverty:

The Reaction Essay

At the core of any short story, authors seek to teach readers real lessons about life. Many of these themes revolve around the ideas of love, greed, and envy. For example, Guy de Maupassant teaches us that our wants and desires can never truly fulfill us wholly. Likewise, we learn the consequence of lying and pain of materialism. Similarly, O. Henry defines the spirit of true love and the real meaning of Christmas, in that the best gifts are those given out of the purest and most meaningful sacrifices. Though each story is detailed with different settings and characters, many of the ideas resonant together.
Your Task:
Prepare a four paragraph essay discussing the similarities and differences of the characters in “The Necklace” and “The Gift of the Magi”. Use your knowledge of the story to think critically about the characters and what they represent in real life. Additionally, work the themes of both novels throughout the piece, proving how the characters actually show the themes. Use the following guidelines and the back graphic organizer to assist you.
Your essay must be written in Times New Roman font size 12, double spaced, 1 inch margins, 2 pages (to the bottom of the page). Include a cover page and begin your introduction at the top of the second page. Additionally, your essay must include the following:

  • A general statement similar to the one beginning this direction page. Any person that says “In “The Necklace” and “The Gift of the Magi”” or “ “The Necklace” and “The Gift of the Magi” are both similar and different” or anything of the like will automatically lose 10 points. Instead, write a general statement about love or life, or choose a quotation that fits the essay.

  • An example from both stories, including titles of the pieces and names of the authors

  • A thesis (main idea) for the essay (4-6 sentences)

Body Paragraph One

  • You may choose to write about one short story here OR

  • You may choose to COMPARE both short stories

  • Either way, always relate back to your thesis/main idea (8-10 sentences)

Body Paragraph Two

  • Use the other short story or CONTRAST both short stories (8-10 sentences)


  • A general statement similar to your first sentence

  • An example from both short stories, including authors

  • A final statement that sums up the entire essay and thesis in one line (4-6 sentences)

Transitional Words

  • Finally, you must include at least SIX transitional words or phrases. These include: also, additionally, in addition to, similar to, similarly, contrasting against, therefore, for example, likewise, moreover, furthermore, however, in opposition, first, second, third, etc.

  • Be sure to add two (2) direct quotations with page numbers from EACH story! Cite the lines correctly.

Main Idea/ Thesis

“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

Theme 1 and story example: Theme 1 and story example:

Theme 2 and story example: Theme 2 and story example:

How are the stories and themes alike?

How are the stories and themes alike AGAIN?

How are the stories and themes different?

How are the stories and themes different AGAIN?

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