The Implementation of the Actantial Model to Analyze the Narrative Structure of O. Henry’s “the Gift of the Magi”


  • Muhammad Zeeshan Akram Malik PhD Scholar, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Bushra Shoukat Assistant Professor, Department of English, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar Campus, Bahawalnagar, Pakistan.
  • Ali Ahmad Kharal  Professor of English & Principal, Islamabad College for Boys, G-6/3, Islamabad, Pakistan



Actantial Model, Actants, Subject


The present study aims at analyzing the narrative structure of the famous short story “The Gift of the Magi” by implementing Greimas’s (1966) Actantial Model. “The Gift of the Magi” is written by O. Henry. It is quite enigmatic to find out the real subject of the story as both Della and Jim seem to be the subject and object at the same time. The Actantial model of Greimas is a wonderful framework to solve this puzzle. Therefore, the study tries to identify the real ‘subject’ of the story, analyzing the text of the story by applying Greimas’ model of Actantial. Not only this, but the study also identifies the other actants’ roles such as the object, the helper, the opponent, the sender, and the receiver in the story, their contribution to the narrative structure, the character and non-character actants and their role in the development of the plot. The textual analysis of the narrative, by the implementation of Greimas’ model, shows that Della is the real ‘subject’ of the story, Jim the object and the receiver both, the non-character actant ‘Christmas’ as the sender, Della’s passion of love and sacrifice as the helpers and her poverty as the opponent.

Author Biography

Bushra Shoukat, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar Campus, Bahawalnagar, Pakistan.




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How to Cite

Malik, M. Z. A., Shoukat, B. ., & Kharal, A. A. . (2022). The Implementation of the Actantial Model to Analyze the Narrative Structure of O. Henry’s “the Gift of the Magi”. Journal of Languages, Culture and Civilization, 4(4), 443-453.

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