Thursday, December 08, 2005

Miserable Christmases of literature

There are some remarkably unhappy Christmases in literature. My favorite (?) fictional awful Christmas is the one in Great Expectations. Pip has stolen a pie to give to the escaped prisoner, and is dreading the moment when his horrible sister will discover the theft. Meanwhile, the assorted guests keep teasing him in a nasty way. Dickens was, of course, a genius, and the sense of impending doom Pip feels is brilliantly conveyed. Not, however, one of his joyful Christmas scenes.

Frank O'Connor's memoir, An Only Child, has another depressing Christmas. It is Christmas Eve, and his mother is waiting for his father to come home with his wages so she can buy something for the boy. He grudgingly gives her a small sum. The poor kid wakes up and finds tht Santa has brought him a cheap trifle.

Can anyone think of another miserable Christmas in literature?

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