About Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti was born on December 5, 1830. She was best known for her ballads and mystic religious lyrics. She was a Victorian poet. Her poems are full of intense emotions and are marked by symbolism. She died in London on December 29, 1894, due to cancer. She also wrote various poems for children. She was the youngest child of Gabriel Rossetti and was the sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was a painter – poet.
Setting of Christmas Carol
The reader’s attention is captured through the first line only, due to its repetition:
“In the bleak mid-winter”
In other words like “moan”, “snow”, “stone”, “ago”, there is assonance, which represents the moaning of the wind. Similes like “Earth stood as hard as iron, Water like a stone”, shows the harshness of the surroundings.
Repetition of the word “Snow” depicts the two sides of God. Snow can be viewed as both cold or harsh and beautiful, which demonstrates the two sides of god.
The poem, A Christmas Carol, was written in 1871, by Christina Rossetti, which was originally published in 1872. The carol was later adopted as a hymn in 1906, by Gustav Holst.
Poetic devices in Christmas Carol
Stanza-1: “hard as iron”, “water like a stone”, which shows the harshness of the surroundings.
Repetition and Alliteration:
Stanza-1: “Snow on snow, snow on snow”, which shows the moaning of the wind, due to the assonance in the word “snow”.
Stanza-2: “heaven and earth shall flee away”, in which there is a sudden change to a calm tone.
Stanza-3: “The ox and as and camel which adore”, which shows admiration and calmness.
Stanza-2: “A stable place sufficed”, where the speaker introduces Jesus Christ and his human incarnation to the readers.
Stanza-3: “A breast full of milk and a manger full of hay”, which shows Jesus as content with the lowly circumstances of his birth.
Stanza-5: “if I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb”, which depicts a tone of admiration towards Jesus.
Stanza-2: “heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain”, it tells us about the birth of Christ, Christ must be born on earth, live and die as a human.
Style of Christmas Carol
In the bleak midwinter (A)
Frosty wind made moan, (B)
Earth stood hard as iron, (C)
Water like a stone; (B)
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, (D)
Snow on snow, (E)
In the bleak midwinter, (F)
Long ago. (E)
Summary of Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti
Christina Rossetti begins her poem by describing the attributes of winter. Winter is the season when Christians celebrate Christmas, the day when Jesus Christ was born. The poem depicts a scene of Christ being born in a manger during winter. In the beginning of the poem, the poet describes the general outside setting and then starts describing the characters inside the stable like, Jesus’s mother, a plethora of angels, and many common farm animals. At the end the poet describes her love for the new-born Jesus.
Rossetti introduces the readers to Christ, in the second Stanza. Christ must be born on earth, live and die as a human, and then return at the end of the earth.
In the third Stanza, Jesus Christ is shown contented with the lowly circumstances of his birth. Then in the next Stanza, the poet emphasises on the importance of Christ’s humanity through the image of Christ’s mother kissing her baby. Therefore, the poet celebrates the unique value of human love.
In the end, Rossetti imagines herself in the position of a shepherd and wise man, and wonders, what gift she would offer to the baby Jesus. Finally, she decides to offer her heart to Jesus as a token to love.
Analysis of Christmas Carol
Rossetti tries to pair up natural elements for straightforward Similes in the first Stanza. This gives the reader a sense that the poet is telling a familiar and much beloved tale.
The poet uses the repetition in the first line which grabs the attention of the readers very easily. The words that she chooses are appropriate and humble. She also borrows various biblical phrases like “Angels and Archangels”.
In the end of the poem, Rossetti imagines herself in the position of a shepherd and wise man, and finally decided to offer her heart to Jesus, as a gift.
Tone of Christmas Carol
In the first Stanza, it is seen that the tone is of hopelessness.
In the second Stanza, there is a sudden change to a calm tone:
“A stable place sufficed”
In the third Stanza, the tone is of love, admiration and calmness.
In the fourth Stanza, the poet continues to be an admiring and loving person towards the newborn Jesus.
In the last Stanza, there is again a tone of admiration towards Jesus, when the poet finally decides to offer her heart as a gift to the Almighty.
Themes in Christmas Carol
The poem addresses the cultural members of the Catholic Church. The poem revolves around the themes of ‘mother’s love’, ‘greatness of god’ and ‘the miracle of a new born baby’.
Through the word “Carol”, the poet tries to start the poem with a joyous note. In the poem, it is seen that the female heart is both, a natural and supernatural gift.
Basically, the poem focuses upon the theme of love and admiration. In the poem, the poet’s love is seen for her god. In the end, she also decides to give her heart in order to show her love for Jesus.
The poem, A Christmas Carol, begins by describing the characteristics of winter season, when Christ was born. The poet explains various characters inside the stable, where Jesus was born, including his mother, Virgin Mary, and the angels and animals, who worshipped Jesus. In the end Rossetti shows her love and admiration for her god, and finally decides to give her heart as a gift to Jesus.
Contributor: Ashi Gupta