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"Memories of Christmas" by Dylan Thomas

In his essay, published in 1954, ‘Memories of Christmas’ Dylan Thomas conveys the feeling of childhood. The punctuation, structure, and alliteration in Thomas’ essay work to create a childlike tone. Thomas writes about two more specific christmas stories in between the overstuffed generic-christmas paragraphs. His essay provides a break from the business of life as an adult with responsibilities. It is important to not forget what being a kid is like. As the world gets more and more busy and we get so focused on how to make the future for us and our family better, it is important to remember what it was like before that stress became a prominent factor in your life.

It’s nice to be a kid.

Thomas’ uses many different forms of punctuation in this essay, to help the reader remember their own childhood. For example, he uses em-dashes to further clear up the childhood memory. He writes ‘… marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows — eternal, ever since Wednesday…’ (Thomas 63) and it sounds like his adult self has to correct the child in his memory.

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This passage shows just how kids think, and that they often feel time passes slowly. And even though this part of the story seems slow, he also provides faster paced passages. He uses commas more often than periods in the faster passages, and that builds this feeling of excitement. The structure in this essay conveys the chaotic and confusing feeling of being a child. In the first two paragraphs, he basically is writing two very long sentences.

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‘…and I plunge my hands into the snow; holly or robins or pudding, squabbles and carols and oranges and tin whistles’ (Thomas 62) when you read this, you feel a blurred sense of time passing and things changing.

Thomas begins his story with how he held his hands in front of a fire after being outside in the cold, and that they burned so bad he cried, but they had jelly so it was okay. Then at the end of the essay he talks about the ‘ghost’ and instead of focusing on it they go see if there is any jelly left. The beginning and the end of the essay have jelly in it, which is basically the epitome of childhood. When something goes wrong you distract and suddenly everything is fine. Through alliteration and repetition, Thomas creates a childlike energy.

For example, while describing a particular Christmas Afternoon, Thomas writes of his ‘bright new boots’ in ‘the white world’ and ‘silent snowscape of [his] town’ (Thomas 65). The emphasis he puts on alliteration creates a sense of wonder, as well as adding more description. The way that Thomas writes gives an idea of children’s values, and shows how much has stayed the same for children. Conclusion Thomas knows how to make his writing sound like a child, while still being grammatically correct. The importance of this essay is to show how much fun being a child was, and that it’s good to remember that time even if we are never going to experience that again. If we forget what our childhood was like, we forget to see the fun around us. Even if you’re 92 you should have fun.

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"Memories of Christmas" by Dylan Thomas. (2020, May 23). Retrieved from

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