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How are Charles Darwin's ideas about evolution relevant to the Christmas greeting...

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fern8190 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 11, 2011 at 2:45 AM via web

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How are Charles Darwin's ideas about evolution relevant to the Christmas greeting included in some editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 24, 2011 at 6:10 AM (Answer #1)

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Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution are not obviously relevant to the Christmas greetings included in some editions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Nevertheless, Darwin’s ideas are somewhat relevant in the sense that the theory of evolution helped undermine and/or erode belief in Christianity in late Victorian England. Darwin’s theories symbolized the rise of scientific truth in opposition to religion; more and more people, especially among the educated, began to doubt religious doctrines and religious traditions, such as Christmas. The English poet who most famously symbolizes this growth of religious doubt is Thomas Hardy; his poem “The Oxen” is a splendid example of how religious doubts could affect attitudes toward such religious holidays as Christmas.

One stanza from the Christmas greetings added to some editions of the Adventures reads as follows:

We have heard the children say -
Gentle children, whom we love -
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.

This stanza might be read as implying belief in Christmas is a belief especially appropriate to children but now less widely accepted among adults.

 

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