Jack Frost

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For other uses, see Jack Frost (disambiguation).
19th-century cartoon depicting Jack Frost as a United States major-general during the American Civil War

Jack Frost is the personification of frost, ice, snow, sleet, and freezing cold weather,[1] a variant of Old Man Winter held responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the nose and toes in such weather, coloring the foliage in autumn, and spring and leaving fernlike patterns on cold windows in winter.

Starting in late 19th century literature, more filled-out characterization of Jack Frost have made him into a sprite-like character. He sometimes appears as a sinister mischief maker.

Background[edit]

Jack Frost is said to be a friendly spirit, but can be very dangerous because if one were to insult him he would cover that person with snow or turn them into frost. Jack is a spirit and the personification of crisp, cold, winter weather, a variant of Old Man Winter. He is also at times shown as a mischief-making spirit, carefree and happiest when he can behave as he pleases. With no obligations, he is able to flourish.

He is traditionally thought to leave the frosty, fern-like patterns on windows on cold winter mornings (window frost or fern frost) and nipping the extremities in cold weather. He is sometimes described or depicted with paint brush and bucket coloring the autumnal foliage red, yellow, brown, and orange.[2] In some versions, Jack Frost is friendly, but kills his victims by covering them with snow if provoked. On the other hand, other versions depict him as a kinder being who only wishes to enjoy himself and bring happiness to others. He is often portrayed as an older man, though other depictions show him as a young adult or a teenager.

In more modern mythology he is often the being that parents will warn their child of in frosty winter mornings before they go outside, as it is said he will pull tricks on them and cause their extremities to become cold.

History[edit]

His roots may originate from Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs.

In Russia however, he has taken on a different form as Grandfather Frost, and in Germany there is instead a different entity altogether.[clarification needed] There are various other mythological beings who take on a similar role yet have different folklore to them.

In recent years, Jack Frost has made appearances as a character in pop culture - he garnered a brief mention in the wintertime song The Christmas Song and several roles as a character in television and movies. Over the years he has taken the role of both villains, heroes, and neutral entities.

In popular culture[edit]

Literature[edit]

Window with frost patterns
Jack Frost pattern on window in Gatineau, Quebec
  • Hannah F. Gould's (1789-1865) Jack Frost poem, as a mischievous being responsible for the quieter phenomenons of winter, beautiful ice paintings on windows but who also got upset at lack of gifts and caused the cold to break and ruin things.[3]
  • In Charles Sangster's "Little Jack Frost", published in The Aldine, (Vol.7, No.16, 1875) Jack Frost is a playful being who runs around playing pranks and 'nose-biting', coating places with snow before being chased off by Dame Nature for spring.[4]
  • In L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902), Jack Frost is the son of the otherwise unnamed Frost King. He takes pleasure in nipping "scores of noses and ears and toes", but Santa Claus, who likes Jack (who he sees as a "jolly rogue") though he mistrusts him, asks him to spare the children. Jack says he will, if he can resist the temptation.[5] The same Jack appears in "The Runaway Shadows", a short story by Baum. In this story, he has the power to freeze shadows, separating them from their owners, making them their own living entities.[6]
  • In Laurell K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series, a character emerges as the original Jack Frost. Jack Frost has appeared as a minor character in the Rupert Bear stories, and in Jack of Fables (a Fables spinoff) the titular character became Jack Frost for a period of time. A second Jack Frost ("Jack too, or Jack two") appears as the son of Jack Horner and The Snow Queen.
  • In the Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows, Jack Frost is an antagonist who wants to freeze Fairyland. He is accompanied by pesky goblins who steal fairies, and try to sabotage them.
  • In the novel Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, Jack grows tired of "fern patterns" and paints more elaborate pictures on windows.
  • The Man Jack, an enigmatic and unnatural killer and a member of "The Jacks Of All Trades" calls himself Jack Frost in The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
  • Jack Frost is one of the co-stars of the 2002 novel Jill Chill and the Baron of Glacier Mountain, written by Ed McCray with artwork by George Broderick, Jr. Jack is portrayed as Jill Chill's boyfriend.

Comics[edit]

  • Jack Frost appears in the 2009 comic book Jill Chill & The Christmas Star by Ed McCray and George Broderick Jr., a sequel to the Jill Chill illustrated novel mentioned above. This is a traditional representation of Jack Frost as a teenager.

Films[edit]

  • Jack Frost, a Russian film from 1964, has the title Morozko—the Russian equivalent of Jack Frost.
  • Jack Frost appears as the main protagonist of Rise of the Guardians voiced by Chris Pine. Jack Frost is getting tired of being unseen and is suddenly forced to join the Guardians (which consists of Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and the Easter Bunny) to defeat the Boogeyman (aka Pitch Black). This version of Frost is portrayed as a fun-loving teenage boy who has no interest in being bound by rules or obligations and just wants to use his magical staff to spread his winter magic for the sake of his amusement, and for the amusement of others.

Radio, animation, and television[edit]

  • Prior to the popularity of television, Jack Frost appeared in the children's radio serial The Cinnamon Bear.
  • Jack Frost reappears at the end of Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July voiced again by Paul Frees. He helped Rudolph bring Frosty the Snowman and his family back to life after they melted.
  • In another Rankin-Bass TV special produced in 1979, Jack Frost, the title character (voiced by Robert Morse) falls in love with a human girl and seeks to become human. Father Winter grants his wish, but tells him that if he does not have a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife by "the first sign of spring" he will become a sprite again.
  • Jack Frost appears in the American Dragon: Jake Long episode "Eye of the Beholder" voiced by Jonathan Freeman. This version is depicted as a big blue man in a Hawaiian shirt. He appears as a judge of Eli Pandarus' beauty contest alongside Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

Video games[edit]

Jack Frost has appeared in many video games including

  • Frost also functions as a trademark character for the game-developer Atlus and as a mascot of the Megami Tensei series, in which it learns mainly Ice skills.
    • In the games Persona 3 and Persona 4, he appears as a Persona of the Magician Arcana.
    • He is briefly mentioned in Trauma Team; during one section of the Forensics' stages, one of the joke answers for a multiple choice question is "A Jack Frost doll" (a shoutout to the mascot).
  • Jack Frost also appears as a character in Scribblenauts Unlimited. A female version of Jack Frost is also featured.

Music[edit]

  • Jethro Tull has a song titled "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow".
  • Saint Vitus depict Jack Frost as an evil spirit of winter on their album V.
  • Jack Rosenberg (later known as "Werner Erhard") used it as a nickname while selling cars in Philadelphia in the 1950s.[7]
  • At the end of the 1997 Jack Frost film, Scott MacDonald [Jack Frost] plays a segment of "Silent Night"
  • Jack Frost is also a doom metal band from Austria.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, s.v. 'frost' and 'Jack'
  2. ^ Bartholomew F. Bland, Laura L. Vookles, William H. Gerdts, Laura L. Vookles. (2010) Paintbox Leaves: Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth. Hudson River Museum. p. 41. ISBN 0943651301.Tveten, John L. and Gloria Tveten. (2008). Nature at Your Doorstep: A Nature Trails Book. Texas A&M University Press. p. 47. ISBN 1603440364.
  3. ^ http://www.levelwise.org/hannah-f-gould-jack-frost-poem.html
  4. ^ http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/20636992.pdf?acceptTC=true
  5. ^ The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, Part 2, Chapter 2: How Claus Made The First Toy
  6. ^ The Runaway Shadows or A Trick of Jack Frost by L. Frank Baum
  7. ^ Pressman, Steven, Outrageous Betrayal: The dark journey of Werner Erhard from est to exile. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993, page 6. ISBN 0-312-09296-2

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of Jack Frost at Wiktionary