Friday, December 17, 2004

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Marley's Ghost. Ebenezer Scrooge visited by a ghost. Colour illustration from 'A Christmas Carol in prose. Being a Ghost-story of Christmas', by Charles Dickens, With illustrations by John Leech. Public Domain

A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens is a classic Christmas story and a classic ghost story combined. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and is set on Christmas Eve in London, England. Scrooge is a grumpy, old miser who doesn’t like Christmas. His nephew Fred invites him to celebrate Christmas dinner with his family, but Scrooge turns him down. Later, Scrooge refuses to donate to help the poor and shuns a boy singing a Christmas carol. Scrooge doesn’t even want to give his hardworking clerk, Bob Cratchit, the day off for Christmas.

That night, Scrooge receives a visit from the ghost of Jacob Marley, his old business partner who died seven years prior. Marley is doomed to wander the Earth without rest or peace. He has a chain around his waist and must drag along “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.” Marley’s ghost warns Scrooge that he has a chance of escaping this same fate and that he will be haunted by three spirits in the coming hours. Marley’s warning comes true, and Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

Although I was well familiar with the overall story of A Christmas Carol, having seen so many versions of it on television, I had never read the book before. I enjoyed the descriptions of the ghosts, especially the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge's fear was so natural as the ghosts forced him to revisit his old memories, to view current happenings, and to see what could happen in the future. I read the story with excitement and apprehension although I already knew the ending, and it was a fun book to read.

In seeing Scrooge’s past along with him, the reader and Scrooge can see the accumulation of choices he made that resulted in his "Bah Humbug!" persona. Dickens crafted Scrooge as a multi-dimensional character. Scrooge’s experiences with the ghosts make him change his ways to be a kinder, better man. The story is such a nice example of the goodness that the spirit (or rather Spirits) of Christmas can inspire.

Purchase and read books by Charles Dickens:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Great Expectations by Charles Dickens David Copperfield by Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts