Scenes From a Family Christmas by Benjamin Law
In Scenes From a Family Christmas by Benjamin Law we have the theme of contentment, acceptance, appearance, confusion, innocence and disappointment. Taken from his The Family Law collection the story is narrated in the first person by Law himself and from the beginning of the story the reader realizes that Law may be exploring the theme of contentment. Law dislikes very much the Christmas tree his family put up. It is old and has seen better days. It is only when the family get a better and newer Christmas tree that he feels content. It is as though Law’s prayers have been answered when it comes to the tree. He feels not only that the new tree is acceptable but that he is acceptable too. No longer is he embarrassed. This may be significant as it suggests the importance of appearance to Law. He just wants to fit in with others without the spotlight being shone on him and his family.
The puppy too plays a significant part in the story. Law wants a puppy for Christmas but his mother is against it. No matter how much Law pleads with his mother no puppy is forthcoming. Which adds to the disappointment that Law feels at Christmas time. The Uncle could play and important role in the story as he appears to be somewhat frisky when it comes to the children sitting on his lap. It is as though he derives pleasure for it. If anything the Uncle could be considered to be a dirty old man. At least that is the impression that Law gives to the reader. There is also a degree of confusion in the story when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Law does not fully understand how Mary got pregnant by the Holy Spirit and this leads him to doubt religion and what comes with religion.
Despite the difficulties that Law feels he incurs over Christmas he still nonetheless enjoys it. Even if he has to cry when Andrew sings a sad song about Rudolph. Though the lemon juice on his face may have also contributed to Law crying. The lesson with the dots on the piece of paper to describe how close Law is to his family is important as it is a test of some sort. A test that Law himself might like to pass and to not upset other member of his family by drawing the dots far apart. In reality Law loves his Mother, Father and siblings but may not necessarily express it to the best of his ability. Law also feels disappointed when his family do not choose to eat the gravy he has made. After all his hard work it seems to have been in vain. Though not many people would be keen to eat lamb’s blood. Something that is lost on Law. Which may be the point that Law himself is trying to make. He may be somewhat innocent. He after all is still very young.
The game of hypotheticals is important as there is no real pleasant choice given to each family member. Which may play on Tammy’s warped mind at the time. Something she finds funny, others do not. Probably the most important scene in the story is when Law makes a long Distance Call to his father to tell him that he is gay. Rather than being fraught with tension. Law’s father accepts his son for who he is. A young, gay, Asian man. One expects this is a relief to Law. The purchase of Christmas presents also leaves Law and his family broke but they won’t change to a secret Santa. So important is Christmas and the fact that everyone should be involved. Law wants a traditional Christmas with everyone getting gifts.