This assignment is taken from the Narrative Writing Prompt on page 114 of Springboard, which asks that you review paragraphs 12-15 of “The Gifts of the Magi,” where Della goes to get her hair cut at Madame Sofronie’s. Use this “unseen scene” as an inspiration to write your own scene in which you imagine what the two characters might be doing and saying as the haircutting progresses. Or you may want to imagine the scene in which Jim sells his watch to buy the combs for Della. Be sure to:
Use descriptions and details to create a setting and situation.
Set up the conflict, and introduce any new characters and their perspectives for the reader.
The conflict will rely on the importance of the objects being given up; be sure that, like O. Henry, you are emphasizing the value of these objects by their descriptions and interactions.
Use dialogue to create a vivid picture of the characters and develop tension regarding the conflict.
Provide a smooth transition to the next part of the narrative
This should be written such that it feels like it belongs in the original story. This means attempting to write with the voice of the narrative present in the short story. Consider how O. Henry writes:
What kinds of sentences? Paragraphs? Images?
How do the characters already speak and how can you be consistent?
What aspects of the environment are provided?
Goals are to demonstrate how images signify the literal and symbolic importance of objects and show an understanding of an author’s deliberate choices create voice.
Exemplary Work will be grammatically accurate with thoughtful imagery and dialogue to create an engaging read.