Absurd Person Singular

by

Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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Christmas Symbol Icon

All three acts of the play are set during Christmas parties. Christmas is often considered a holiday that celebrates kindness, generosity, and family. However, Christmas is also a holiday that epitomizes greed and conspicuous consumption. It’s a time when wealthy families who practice the holiday lavish money on gifts for themselves and show off by buying overpriced presents for other people. In all, Christmas perfectly symbolizes the contradictions of the middle class: like most of the characters in the play, it’s defined by selfishness and selflessness, childishness and maturity, community and crass materialism.

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Christmas Symbol Timeline in Absurd Person Singular

The timeline below shows where the symbol Christmas appears in Absurd Person Singular. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The play begins “last Christmas” in the kitchen of the suburban home of Sidney Hopcroft and Jane Hopcroft, both in... (full context)
Materialism Theme Icon
Sidney asks Jane for a “Christmas kiss,” but Jane instead says that Sidney’s tie smells like fly spray. Then Sidney notes... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
...and then shut and forgotten about. Marion also notices the washing machine, which was Sidney’s Christmas present to Jane. She notices the dial that reads, “Whites-coloreds” and jokes, “it’s apartheid,” a... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Sidney tells Jane that he’ll watch some television now—since it’s Christmas Eve, there should be something good on. Sidney walks out, leaving Jane along in the... (full context)
Act Two
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Act Two takes place “This Christmas” in the kitchen of Geoffrey and Eva’s fourth-floor flat (apartment). The kitchen seems untidy—the appliances... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Faintly, Eva begins to sing, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” After each verse, a guest joins in—first Marion, then Jane, then Ronald, then Sidney. In... (full context)
Act Three
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Act Three takes place “next Christmas” in the kitchen of the Brewster-Wrights’ old Victorian house. The kitchen has many modern appliances,... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...Ronald owes Geoffrey the money, and claims that she’ll bring it up with Ronald after Christmas. (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...drinks, and the three of them toast and drink. Geoffrey notes, “Bit quieter than last Christmas, eh?” He notices the book Ronald was reading—a “saucy” thing, Ronald explains, which he found... (full context)
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...have three stitches because of his dog bite. Dick Potter is mountain-climbing in Switzerland this Christmas, meaning “We’ll have to do without old Dick to jolly us up this year.” (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...very plainly …” Marion cuts him off, saying, “For the love of God, Ronnie, it’s Christmas.” Then, she begins to weep. She tells the guests that she used to be a... (full context)
The Middle Class Theme Icon
Materialism Theme Icon
Fortune  Theme Icon
...the end of the game, the person with the least forfeits gets a chocolate Father Christmas (i.e., Santa Claus). (full context)