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How Christmas Hymns and Carols Have Evolved Over Time
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, and one of the most beloved traditions during this festive season is singing Christmas hymns and carols. These songs have been passed down from generation to generation, bringing comfort and cheer to people around the world. But have you ever wondered how these hymns and carols have evolved over time? In this article, we will explore the rich history of Christmas music and how it has transformed throughout the years.
Origins of Christmas Hymns and Carols
Christmas hymns and carols have their roots in ancient Christian traditions. The early Christians used music as a way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the earliest known hymns is “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” which dates back to the 4th century AD. This hymn beautifully expresses the awe and wonder surrounding the nativity story.
During the Middle Ages, Christmas carols began to emerge as a popular form of musical expression. These carols were often sung in churches or during community gatherings. They were typically sung in Latin or local languages, making them accessible to a wider audience.
The Renaissance Period
The Renaissance period marked a significant shift in Christmas music. Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel composed elaborate choral works that celebrated not only the birth of Christ but also reflected on broader themes such as redemption and hope.
One notable example is Handel’s “Messiah,” which includes the famous Hallelujah chorus. This composition remains one of the most beloved pieces of Christmas music today.
Popularization of Christmas Carols
In the 19th century, there was a resurgence in interest for traditional folk melodies associated with Christmas celebrations. Many well-known carols that we sing today were collected during this time by composers like John Mason Neale and Cecil Sharp.
These composers sought to preserve and popularize traditional carols such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night.” These songs became timeless classics that are still sung in churches, schools, and homes around the world.
Contemporary Christmas Hymns and Carols
In recent years, contemporary artists have contributed to the ever-evolving landscape of Christmas music. They have brought new life to old classics by reimagining them with modern arrangements or composing original songs that capture the spirit of the season.
Artists like Mariah Carey with her hit song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and Pentatonix with their a cappella renditions of traditional carols have captured the hearts of millions. These songs continue to be played on radio stations and streamed online during the holiday season.
Christmas hymns and carols have evolved over time, reflecting changes in musical styles, cultural influences, and personal interpretations. From their humble beginnings in ancient Christian traditions to their continued popularity in contemporary music, these songs hold a special place in our hearts during the festive season. So whether you find yourself singing along to a traditional carol or jamming out to a modern holiday hit, remember that Christmas music has a rich history that connects us all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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A Christmas Carol Essay
A christmas carol essay - aqa english literature exam - june 2019 gcse standard (grade 9), grade 9 gcse essay - aqa starting with this extract, explore how dickens uses the ghosts to help scrooge change his attitudes and behaviour. write about: • how dickens uses marley’s ghost in this extract • how dickens uses the ghosts to help scrooge change his attitudes and behaviour in the novel as a whole., exemplar english literature essays.
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How does Charles Dickens present the character of Scrooge In the opening chapter of A Christmas Carol
How does Charles Dickens present the character of Scrooge In the opening chapter of A Christmas Carol?
A Christmas carol was written to be released around Christmastime 1843 by Charles Dickens. I this essay I will be discussing how Charles Dickens presents the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the opening chapter of the popular novel.
The opening paragraphs of a Christmas carol give us an insight into Scrooges personality. They appear to be written by someone who knows Scrooge fairly well and we are made aware of the opinions of others around him by the personal way in which the story is narrated to the reader.
The character of Scrooge is initially presented as being quite isolated. The use of the word “sole” when discussing the relationship between Scrooge and Marley informs the reader that Scrooge is lonely in all aspects of his life. Dickens does this by repeating the word next to different titles given to Scrooge such as “sole administrator”, “Sole assign” and “Sole friend”. He is also described as being as “solitary as an oyster” which adds to the isolated imagery which the author effectively creates.
Charles Dickens then goes on to describe Scrooge as being a “Tight fisted hand at the grindstone”. This means that Scrooge is miserly, unwilling to spend. This is one idea already introduced to the reader earlier on in the page when Marley’s funeral is being described. The phrase “He solemnised it with an undoubted bargain” is used, meaning Scrooge didn’t even spend much money on his only friend’s funeral.
Dickens setting of the novel mirrors Scrooges personality in the wintry season. The image of Scrooge as being a cold character is apparent in the way in which both his appearance and personality are described. Adjectives such as “froze, shrivelled blue, frosty, low, iced, and thaw” are used.
The weather also reflects Scrooges character. It is described as being “cold, bleak and biting” when Dickens first sets the scene of the counting house on Christmas Eve. However, it is done quite subtly so the atmosphere is slowly built up. We fully become aware of this when his nephew comes to visit him.
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The nephew is a complete contrast to Scrooge both in personality and appearance. He is described as being “Ruddy and handsome” as apposed to Scrooge being “cold and bitter”. His manner towards Scrooge seems extremely tolerant and patient, although Scrooge is repeatedly rude and unpleasant when talking to him. This seems to make Scrooge appear even more unpleasant as his nephew also likes the festive season and scrooge contradicts everything his nephew mentions concerning Christmas “what reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough”. The nephew retorts “what reasons have you to be morose? You’re rich enough”. Scrooge even refuses an invitation to Christmas dinner declaring “bah humbug”. This reinforces the idea of how unsociable he is even when it concerns his own family and their generosity. This also adds a sense of irony as although his nephew isn’t very rich he is offering Scrooge a place around his dinner table when he is probably struggling to feed the large amount of people he has already invited. Scrooge is either too ignorant or refuses to realise the amount of generosity given to him although he could probably afford twice the amount of food his Nephew can. This is yet another example of just how miserly he is.
The time in which a Christmas carol is set (the festive season) offsets Scrooges personality as it is the time of year that Scrooge most dislikes. As a consequence he is at his most arrogant, stingy and unpleasant even though everyone around him is at their happiest. Instead of changing his mood, Scrooges frame of mind remains the opposite of everyone else’s. An example of Scrooge hating the time of year is again when he is speaking to his nephew. He cries “out upon merry Christmas”, meaning he is out of favour with the idea of Christmas and everything concerning it.
The way in which Scrooge treats others outside of his family adds to the negative image of his character. For example when his clerk Bob Cratchit needs more coal for his fire he wouldn’t dream of getting any more as Scrooge would dismiss him. So he “put on his white comforter” to try and keep warm. Even though the weather is bitterly cold, Scrooge doesn’t even offer any more coal to Cratchit. As long he is warm he feels it doesn’t concern him. This is an example of how selfish Scrooge is.
When a young carol singer stands outside his doorway expecting Scrooge to open his door welcomingly as so many others would, Scrooge instead “seized the ruler with such energy of action singer fled in terror.” The carol singer who wrongly expects Scrooge to listen to him and maybe offer him money or food is instead rewarded with a beating. There is then reference made to the weather “even more congenial frost”. This informs the reader of the weather conditions that Scrooge has forced the boy out into and makes Scrooge appear heartless.
Scrooge is even ungenerous to some charity collectors who ask for funds for the poor to give them “a little extra” for Christmas. The charity collectors greet Scrooge in a very pleasant and well mannered way “Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley?” obviously unaware of Scrooges unsociable manner. Scrooge replies in his usual inappropriate way “Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years”. This shows that Scrooge refuses to interact in a way in which makes himself appear easy to talk to and a pleasant person. In the book scrooge asks the charity collectors if the poor citizens are in the “union workhouses” and that they will get enough food over Christmas to keep them alive. Scrooge obviously feels that as long as poor people are surviving, charity doesn’t concern him. The charity collectors are so taken aback by Scrooges attitude that they misinterpret his rejection to give money. They think he wants to remain anonymous. They continue to treat him kindly although he won’t give anything to their collection. When Scrooge throws them out, he does it in an extremely rude way. “It’s not my business…good afternoon gentlemen!”
While at first Scrooge only appears to treat his family badly, it soon becomes apparent that he treats people from all walks of life in the same hostile way. He is also just as malicious if not more so with the poor.
In the time in which Charles Dickens is writing, there weren’t any social services for the poor and there was a high level of unemployment as a consequence. So in 1834 they set up workhouses for the elderly, poor or infirm to stay in. These were like small communities that gave the people who were able to work menial tasks and fed them the smallest amount possible that kept them alive. Living in a workhouse however, was as bad as living on the street. Charles Dickens saw himself as a “people’s man” and chose to write about the social background of the day in many of his novels for example Oliver Twist which is set around the same time as a Christmas carol.
Dickens uses many different unique techniques when creating the negative image of Scrooge. The long list of adjectives at the beginning of the story are a good example of this as at a first glance the words “squeezing, wrenching and grasping” appear to be verbs but Dickens decides to create an effective way of using them to describe Scrooge instead. Another example of this is the way he changes nouns into verbs. He uses the metaphor “Scrooge iced his office”. Scrooge didn’t literally turn his office into ice but it helps the reader visualise the way in which his personality seemed to freeze everything around him.
Dickens also uses a lot of black humour in a Christmas carol, for example “he solemnised the funeral with an undoubted bargain” this means that Scrooge got Marley’s funeral for a bargain which is not something that should be found funny as funerals are usually not something you would spend very little on but of course Scrooge is the exception to this rule.
The use of the simile “solitary as an oyster” creates the image of Scrooge being unwilling to share the pearl, or money which is concealed inside the shell with anyone. This can also be interpreted as Scrooge hiding his generous side behind a shell or a mean exterior.
The way in which alliteration is used in the sentence of adjectives including “Squeezing, grasping, clutching” almost echoes Scrooge’s name and the reader is subconsciously reminded of the characters name.
The reader recalls the description of Scrooge when the term “misanthropic ice” is used. This is an effective piece of personification as there are very few ways in which ice can be likened to humans, however the word “misanthropic” meaning someone who hates people, is a good way of describing Scrooges antisocial personality and the way in which ice holds no regard for humans who have to suffer the cold consequences of it.
I found the way in which the character of Scrooge is presented in the opening chapter of a Christmas carol very effective. There are several reasons for this. One of these is that, although there is a huge amount of description included, this does not seem to distract the reader from the narrative which shows the effectiveness of the devices Dickens uses to build up the picture of the characters in his stories. Scrooge is now used as a nickname as many misers in today’s society are described as having a “Scrooge” like character or attitude concerning either money or Christmas which shows how well know the story is. Another is that although over one hundred and fifty years have passed since Charles Dickens wrote the story, it still remains a favourite. Not only as a Christmas story, but as a novel in its own right.
- Word Count 1700
- Page Count 4
- Subject English
How does Charles Dickens show Scrooge changing in A Christmas Carol?
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Starting with this extract, how does Dickens present Scrooge as an outsider to society?
Dickens presents Scrooge as an outsider in this extract by the way he is described. He uses pathetic fallacy in the first paragraph to represent how Scrooge is ‘colder’ than anything weather can throw at him: ‘heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet’. The listing of four types of rough weather intensifies the description of Scrooge being naturally isolated and callous. Dickens then goes on to give examples of normal social behaviour of which Scrooge does not conform too to demonstrate that Scrooge is an outsider of society. He uses examples of direct address: ‘My dear Scrooge, how are you?’ to highlight how unusual it would be for anyone to address Scrooge like this. This is then summarised by stating that Scrooge does not want to be sociable and in fact likes the isolation: ‘it was the very thing he liked’.
It is only when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his lonely, cold funeral that Scrooge finally realises that his solitude and isolation from society will lead to nothing but misery. He has been shown multiple examples of warmth and happiness of social people such as the Cratchitts, and also been reminded of how happy he used to be as a member of society, before greed and loneliness made him ‘cold’.
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