Trev’s Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

A Christmas Carol remains a Christmas classic for good reason. As it asks us all to live with the spirit of Christmas everyday, it shows Scrooge learning how to be kind and generous and enjoy his family and the people around him. More than a Christmas story, it offers a moral vision of a kinder, more generous world.

Click Here for a short biography of Charles Dickens

Click Here for a letter from Hans Christian Andersen to Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’ writing style remains accessible and often humerus. The spirit visitors are drawn so vividly, they are quite enjoyable to read about as well. It is worth reading the original, even though there are movie and abridged versions everywhere.

While to its benefit, the Kindle edition is unabridged and free, it lacks illustrations. Most printed editions include enjoyable illustrations. This is probably its only defect.

Overall, I highly encourage my readers to pick up the free version from Amazon, visit your local library, or order a printed edition and read it, if not this Christmas, then next.

Part I

As I was reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol last night (Available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com for free!) I thought I would put some of my thoughts down in a post. Right now I am a little more than half way through and it is a pretty fast read.

 
I chose A Christmas Carol for two reasons: First of all it was free from Amazon and I can’t pass up a free book, and second of course because it is the season, and when else would I read it? It is, of course, pretty much a classic and I’m sure pretty much everyone is familiar with the storyline of Scrooge and his night visitors, but I’m not sure that that many people have actually read it. It is a good read, definitely better than any movie edition, in my opinion.

One of the things I like best about A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ wit. For example, when Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge in his bedroom, Scrooge, not believing the reality of the specter before him, exclaims, “There’s more gravy than grave about you” (location 182).
 
 
I also like the way Dickens sets up his moral theme beginning with Marley’s visit. Marley, forced to drag along chains of cash boxes, chains and ledgers, proclaims of his ghostly existence, 

“It is required of every man that the spirit within him walk abroad among his fellow men and travel far and wide; and if that spirit does not go forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world–oh, woe is me!–and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness” (location 195).

Scrooge is warned that his existence after death would be the same if he does not change his ways. As Marley departs, Scrooge sees many other specters sharing Marley’s wandering fate. Their real torment, as Dickens narrates, is “that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever” (location 242). This theme has thus far continued and I expect it to throughout A Christmas Carol.

 
For example, as the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to visit his childhood self, left alone at school over the holidays, Ebenezer feels sorry that he chased off a young boy caroler in one of the opening passages of the novel. Scrooge bemoans, “There was a boy singing a Christmas carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: That’s all” (location 336). Or later, when visiting a generous party given by his long dead apprenticeship master, Fezziwig, Scrooge expresses regret for his treatment of his own clerk, “I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now” (location 413).
 
As the Ghost of Christmas Past next shows Ebenezer a scene with his lost love, she declares that he has changed and that she has been replaced in his heart by the pursuit of wealth, “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its (poverty) sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master passion, Gain, engrosses you” (location 421). Scrooge again expresses regret at missed opportunity, this time for the chance to have children, “I should have liked, I do confess, to have the lightest license of a child, and yet to have been man enough to know its value” (location 452).
 
That’s all I have for now. Pick up A Christmas Carol. It’s free!

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Produced Jose Mendez. ebook.

Part II

When we left off last week, Ebenezer Scrooge had just been visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past.  The Ghost had shown him memories from his childhood and younger days.  Scrooge was beginning to feel regret about the time he had wasted pursuing wealth.

It is once again late at night and Ebenezer is about to receive another ghostly visitor. From his bed, his noticed light coming from the room next door.  Upon investigating, he finds, “the walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked like a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened” (location 495).

The Ghost of Christmas Present is a jolly giant, feasting on all sorts of delicious Christmas fare. The Ghost invites Ebenezer into the room. When Ebenezer touches his robes, they are instantly transported to a Christmas morning street. Ebenezer marvels at the scenes of people hurrying and hopeful for a joyous Christmas, and before long, they are outside of the house of Ebenezer’s clerk, Bob Cratchit.
Cratchit’s family, including young Tiny Tim are gathered in the humble dwelling for Christmas dinner of Christmas goose and pudding for dessert.  At the end of the dinner they all declare “A Merry Christmas to us all!,” and Tiny Tim, “God bless us everyone!” (location 622).

Sickly Tiny Tim uses a crutch to walk and is tiny and weak. Ebenezer wonders, “Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”  The spirit replies, “I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die” (location 626). Ebenezer pleads, “Oh, no, kind spirit! say he will be spared!” (location 626). Mrs. Cratchit then decries her husband’s employer’s stinginess, “such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man” (location 640).

The Cratchit family is poor. “They were not well-dressed; their shoes were far from being water-proof; their clothes were scanty.”  But “they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, contented with the time; and when they faded, and looked happier yet in the bright sprinklings of the Spirit’s torch at parting, Scrooge had his eye upon them, and especially Tiny Tim, until the last” (location 651).

The Ghost of Christmas Present next takes Ebenezer to see his nephew and niece celebrating Christmas. His nephew jokes about Scrooge’s character. “I am sorry for him; I couldn’t be angry with him if I tried. Who suffers by his ill whims! Himself, always. Here he takes it into his head to dislike us, and he won’t come and dine with us” (location 705).  Scrooge’s nephew continues, “that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us, and not making merry with us, is, as I think, that he loses some pleasant moments, which could do him no harm” (location 715).

Scrooges family continues the evening with playing music and games.  Scrooge enjoys watching them and is in a good mood, but the Ghost of Christmas present whisks him away from the celebration. It is soon midnight and time for Scrooge’s next visitor.

Thanks for reading.  More coming soon.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Produced Joe Menendez. ebook.

Part III

When we left off last week, Ebenezer had just been left by the Ghost of Christmas present. He is about to meet the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

The phantom is “shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand” (location 785).

The Ghost does not speak, but merely leads Scrooge to where he overhears a conversation about the death of an unknown person. Business associates of Ebenezer show general disinterest in the unknown man’s funeral. Scrooge is puzzled about who this man could have been.

The phantom leads Ebenezer on, eventually again visiting the Cratchit house. The family is again assembled for Christmas dinner. But unlike last time, when they were mirthful, they are sad and silent. Tiny Tim is missing. He has died and the family pledge never to forget his memory.

The phantom leads on. Scrooge still is uncertain the identity of the man who has died. They come to Scrooge’s office, yet it is no longer his office. The furniture has been moved; the man behind the large desk is another man.

At last, the phantom leads Ebenezer to a churchyard and points to a grave. Ebenezer pleads with the phantom, “Are these the shadows of the things the Will be, or are they shadow of things that May be?” (location 968). The phantom answers not.

Ebenezer draws near the grave, only to find his own name on the stone EBENEZER SCROOGE. He begs the spirit, proclaiming that he is a changed man. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!” (location 980).

The spirit does not answer.  Scrooge clings to the spirit’s hand, but it breaks free, but then it shrinks and shrivels and becomes a bedpost.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Produced Joe Menendez. ebook.

Part IV

And so Ebenezer Scrooge awakens to find himself in his own bed, much to his relief. “The time before him was his own, to make amends in” (location 980).

Ebenezer excitedly runs to the window, finding the weather clear and church bells ringing. He yells out the window to ask what day it is. A boy responds, “today! why, Christmas Day!” (location 1000).  Scrooge hasn’t missed Christmas day.

He gleefully asks that the largest of the turkeys at the poultry shop be delivered to the Cratchit family. Scrooge is genuinely pleased with life, as he “went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure: (location 1035). He goes to his nephew’s house and partakes in the festivities.

The next morning, he waits for his assistant, Bob Cratchit to arrive at work. Bob, thinking that he is about to be in trouble for arriving late, is surprised to learn that Scrooge is giving him a raise. Scrooge becomes “a second father” to Tiny Tim, who grows healthier every day.

In short, Scrooge becomes, through the spirit of Christmas, “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town or borough, in the good old word” (location 1060). This is what the spirit of Christmas asks of all of us, every day of the year.

The End

 Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Produced Joe Menendez. ebook.

Trev’s Rating:…

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