In his journal entry, 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’ writing style makes it easy to remember what the readers childhood was like. When he writes about his own memories, it helps the reader see what was the same for them, and what was different.
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. This passage just shows how kids 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 which snowballs throughout the entire story.
The structure in this essay conveys the chaotic and exciting feeling of being a child. In the first two paragraphs, he basically is writing two very long sentences. “…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’ writing style suggests that he is remembering things so fast he is trying to write it all down before he forgets.
Through alliteration and repetition, Thomas creates a childlike energy. He starts the journal entry with “quote page 62 about jelly” and then at the end he uses jelly one more time after the ghost encounter, to show that when you are a kid and you have an unpleasant experience you can easily be distracted with something you enjoy. That is the epitome of childhood, and his writing style gives an idea of what children value. He also uses alliteration to create a dreamy picture in the reader’s mind. 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 importance of this essay is to show how someone’s writing style can provide an escape to the readers own memories. It is easy to remember something when the reader reads something similar, or different to what the reader has experienced. Tomas has written a story about a dreamy, and exciting childhood. Even though times have changed since his journal entry was written, there are a few things he has written that are the epitome of what it’s like to be a child.