Christmas Morning Analysis

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Christmas Morning

“Christmas Morning” is a short story written by the Irish author Frank O’Connor and narrated by the main character, Larry. Other minor characters are Larry’s mother and father and his rather annoying younger brother, Sonny. The story is set in Cork in the west of Ireland and we are given a unique insight into what life would have been like for many families struggling with poverty in bygone days. The theme of loss is central to the story and the reader soon becomes aware of this through the narrator protagonist, Larry. There are different kinds of loss experienced by all the characters in the story, from the loss of childhood innocence upon the discovery that there is no Santa Claus to the deteriorating relationships experienced by the main characters. Frank O’Connor engages the reader with his evocation of these different types of loss through his subtle deployment of a range of literary techniques including direct speech, rhetorical questions and punctuation for effect.

One of the main themes explored in the story “Christmas Morning” is the loss of childhood innocence. Larry obstinately refuses to believe Peter Doherty and his gang when they declare that Santa isn’t real. The writer tells us: “The Doherty’s said there was no Santa Claus, only what your mother and father gave you, but the Doherty’s were a rough class of children you wouldn’t expect Santa to come to anyway.” The use of the adjective “rough” to describe the Doherty family suggests to the reader that while it is used by Larry in this instance, it has quite probably been used by his mother on a number of occasions in Larry’s presence. He is simply repeating what his mother has said to try to put into context why his friends would say such an untrue thing!

As the story continues, the reader begins to feel sympathy towards Larry and we realise that it will only be a matter of time until the truth comes out and Larry’s childhood innocence will be shattered. Larry...
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