The Influence of Charles Dickens on Christmas Traditions (Essay Sample)


Have you ever watched a movie based on Charles Dickens’ work? If you think you haven’t you probably have. In fact, there have been so many cartoons, movies, and play adaptations to his work, almost everyone is sure to have seen an adaptation. For example, A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist are just two commonly adapted books. Having said that, Charles Dickens has influenced modern society, from the movies we watch to our Christmas traditions, even to our speech! 

From Ms. Piggy to live-action, A Christmas Carol has had 100’s of movie adaptations, cartoons, plays, and everything in between made after it, this made A Christmas Carol even bigger, and watching it a tradition in many modern families. We can see the pure quantity of adaptations in the article, “A Christmas Carol adaptations ranked from worst to best” by Dave Trumbore. In this article, it says, “We’ll pretty much be splitting hairs from here on out because these adaptations of A Christmas Carol appeal to different folks for different reasons.” (Trumbore). You see, there are many adaptations of A Christmas Carol, so many that one adaptation may appeal to one person, and not appeal to another person, as stated by this evidence. To this day, people still watch the adaptations that appeal to them! Since these adaptations are based on Charles Dickens’ book, he has forever influenced modern society, because every time a new A Christmas Carol adaptation comes out, he just embeds himself even more in modern society. In this same text it also says that even when it's over 100 years old, A Christmas Carol is still on top of its Christmas game! It’s one of the longest-running, most-adapted, and most relevant holiday tales to date (Trumbore). A Christmas Carol is over 100 YEARS old! Yet, kids and adults are still reading it, and movie adaptations are still being streamed and created! This means it is one of the most relevant Christmas movies and books. Since Charles Dickens created this very relevant book and inspired many, many adaptations, he has embedded himself in modern society. The article also supports the main idea when it says, “There’s pretty much a version of Scrooge for everyone out there”(Trumbore) There are SO many adaptations, that everyone has an adaptation that they will like! Since Charles Dickens created this very relevant book and inspired these adaptations, he has embedded himself in modern society. Not only did Charles Dickens influence what we watch, but he also influenced modern Christmas by popularizing Christmas traditions.

Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol popularized many Christmas traditions and made Christmas what it is today. In “Dickens and the Construction of Christmas” We can see the effects of the book A Christmas Carol by Dickens. The article says, “He kept Christmas that year with an extraordinary zest; 'such dinings, such dancings, such conjurings, such blind-man's buffings, such theatre-goings, such kissing-out of old years and kissing-in of new ones, never took place in these parts before'.”(History Today.) No Dinings, dances, conjurings, or anything of the sort ever happened before A Christmas Carol! This proves A Christmas Carol popularized many Christmas traditions. We still see these things happening at Christmas today, meaning Charles Dickens influenced modern Christmas. In “Dickens and the Construction of Christmas” we can also see how he did it when it says, Dickens’ book A Christmas Carol not only reflected but contributed to the construction of Christmas. (History Today.) This shows how Charles Dickens popularized Christmas Traditions because he both reflected and contributed, meaning in his book he showed us what a Christmas should look like, and people liked that idea, so they did it! In the article “Victorian Christmas” we can also see how Charles Dickens popularized Christmas traditions, the text states, “While Charles Dickens did not invent the Victorian Christmas, his book A Christmas Carol is credited with helping to popularise and spread the traditions of the festival. Its themes of family, charity, goodwill, peace, and happiness encapsulate the spirit of the Victorian Christmas, and are very much a part of the Christmas we celebrate today.” (Victorian Christmas) Charles Dickens popularized and spread the traditions of the festivities. The themes of the book help spread Christmas joy. Charles Dickens’ book is a big part of the Christmas we celebrate today. In addition to Christmas, Charles Dickens impacted modern culture through speech.

Charles Dickens coined words like whiz-bang, and abuzz, which are both popular references to pop-culture, and are used in modern speech. This is the way Charles Dickens has influenced modern conversation. In Tung’s article, it shows HOW Charles Dickens impacted modern speech. We can also see the first time Charles Dickens used these words in his books. In the book, The Pickwick Papers say, “'Present! think I was; fired a musket — fired with an idea — rushed into a wine shop — wrote it down — back again — whiz, bang — another idea — wine shop again — pen and ink — back again — cut and slash — noble time, Sir. Sportsman, sir?' abruptly turning to Mr. Winkle."(Dickens) Here we can see the first time the word was used and the context it was used in! In this case, it was whiz-bang, which had never been used before! In this case, it was used in astonishment, as it is almost always used in modern conversation. We can also see this word being used as a reference to Marry Poppins because in the movie Marry Poppins also uses this word when she is surprised, or astonished. See a connection? In Charles Dickens’ book, A Tale of Two Cities he uses the term, abuzz. In A Tale of Two Cities, it says, “‘The court was all astir and a-buzz when the black sheep — whom many fell away from in dread — pressed him into an obscure corner among the crowd.” (Dickens). Here we can see abuzz being used for the first time. We can also see the context it is used in. In this case, itś in a court case, and people are gossiping when it’s used. A lot of authors use this word today making it very easy to reference. In Tung’s article, it states, “Charles Dickens has been credited with the coining of dozens of words. While some of these words have been antedated — for example, an earlier citation of boredom, long credited to Dickens, has been found — there's no denying the author's role in popularizing words that may have disappeared into obscurity.” (tung). The author even says dozens of words have been coined by Charles Dickens! At least some of these words are words we use in our speech today. Meaning Charles Dickens influenced our modern speech. This is how Dickens has influenced modern Christmas. 

In conclusion, Dickens has influenced our speech, our Christmas, and the movies we watch! Although Dickens indeed influenced modern society, you need to realize that some people think that Dickens is just an old writer, so he couldn’t influence modern society.

 

 Works Cited

Dickens, C. (2020). The Pickwick papers. Portland: Mint Editions.

Dickens, C., & Mowat, R. (2008). A tale of two cities. Oxford: University Press.

Rowell | Published in History Today Volume 43 Issue 12 December 1993, G., & Fellow, G. (n.d.). Dickens and the Construction of Christmas. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.historytoday.com/archive/dickens-and-construction-christmas

Trumbore, D., & D. (2019, December 21). A Christmas Carol Adaptations Ranked from Worst to Best. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://collider.com/a-christmas-carol-adaptations-ranked/

Tung, A. (2013, February 08). 11 words coined by Charles Dickens. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://theweek.com/articles/467867/11-words-coined-by-charles-dickens

Victorian Christmas - History of Christmas. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2020, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/history.shtml

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