A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a timeless fantasy and classic literature about Christmas. It tells a story of how a mean-spirited man, Scrooge changed into a better man on Christmas day.
Goodreads Blurb of A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain, a period when there was strong nostalgia for old Christmas traditions together with the introduction of new customs, such as Christmas trees and greeting cards. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.
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Book Estuary Review
What is the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens about?
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is about the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a tight-fisted, unsympathetic, and incompassionate fellow who hated Christmas. The day before Christmas eve, he was visited by his nephew Fred who invited him over for a Christmas dinner. Scrooge, mean as he is declined as expected.
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
This is Fred’s comeback to his Uncle Scrooge’s pragmatic and disbelieving thoughts about Christmas.
Scrooge also turned away two men asking for a donation at his office. He even brooded over paying his underpaid clerk Bob for not working on Christmas day.
Ghost Marley of A Christmas Carol
In his home, he was visited by the ghost of his former partner, Marley. The ghost came to warn him that if he would not change his ways, he would suffer the same fate as that of Marley’s ghost. Marley’s ghost was carrying heavy chains and had been wandering the Earth, unable to rest in peace.
“Business!’ cried the Ghost (Marley), wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
He then told Scrooge that 3 ghosts would visit him to help him redeem himself before it’s too late.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Ghost of Christmas Past brought Scrooge to the time when he was a lonely child and when his sister who is Fred’s mother was still alive. They also visited the time when he was still working with his first employer who treated him like a son. A visit to the time when his neglected fiance, Belle ended their relationship came next followed by a scene in Belle’s happy home with her new family.
Here, Scrooge realized that he should have given something to a boy who sang a Christmas Carol at his doorstep. He also thought that he must have treated his clerk Bob better and he must not only find happiness in finding more money or wealth.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
The Ghost of Christmas Present brought Scrooge to the market where the people were buying goods in preparation for Christmas dinner. In the process, the Ghost was sprinkling flavour from his torch especially to the dinners of the poor. They went next to Bob’s house where they saw that despite the fact that they were not well-off, they seem to be contented and happy.
The Ghost and Scrooge travel further amongst rows of houses and from here readers will get to see the merriment of the occasion and the festive activities in the houses they passed by. They proceeded to the miners’ place where there were cheerful celebrations as well then to the ship traveling to the sea where the sailors were humming a Christmas tune or thinking of Christmas and home.
Their last stop was in Fred’s house where there was a party and everybody is talking about how Scrooge was missing pleasant memories by taking a dislike to celebrate Christmas.
The Ghost also showed two children called Ignorance and Want and proceeded to tell Scrooge to be cautious of the two implying they could cause some of the world’s misfortunes.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come brought Scrooge to a funeral of a disliked man where the willing attendees were only after the free lunch. When Scrooge asked the Ghost to show him any person who feels any emotions about the man’s death, the phantom showed him the couples who were glad to know about the death because they would be given more time to fix their finances as a result of the man’s death.
To show Scrooge that there could be tenderness connected to the death of a person, the phantom showed him Bob’s family mourning over the death of Tiny Tim. The phantom then led Scrooge to his own graveyard. There Scrooge begged the phantom to give him a chance to change his ways.
“I will honour 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.”
And so Scrooge did and woke up a changed man.
Why read A Christmas Carol?
So, I read A Christmas Carol in time for Christmas although I’m a bit late or too early for next Christmas in posting my review here because as you know having two kids, Christmas is a busier time for working mothers like I am. Reading A Christmas Carol reminds me of the positive things about Christmas, outside of Christmas’ true meaning that is the birth of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and the values it brings like humility, sharing, joy etc,
A Christmas Carol portrays a heartfelt and touching story of a mean-spirited Scrooge turning to a changed man upon seeing the happiness and warmth brought about by Christmas to many homes and places despite poor and inadequate situations. Scrooge learned a lot of things and were given a chance to redeem himself and to live a changed and meaningful life.
Reading the description of Christmas celebration in the book, especially the part during the Ghost of Christmas Present’s visit, I must say that the situation in 1843 still has parallel similarities with our Christmas celebration today. A Christmas Carol reminds us how to celebrate the season with festivity, joy and contentment regardless of the social situations we are in.
Is A Christmas Carol scary?
I’m a person who is afraid of seeing a Ghost so initially I find the story quite scary but after Scrooge got used to seeing them, I also forgot that they were actually ghosts. However, I must say that the story is quite gloomy because most parts we see Scrooge and each of the Ghosts wandering on different places and times.
Overall Rating and Final Thoughts on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens made me realize that the story’s effects are all-encompassing. As I already mentioned, the celebration and festivities during those times have many similarities to how we celebrated Christmas today.
The focus on the character development of Scrooge is very thorough as we see him as an unpleasant and cruel man to a man who regretted his old ways and eventually becoming the polar opposites of his old self.
Today, we see similar characterization to Scrooge in books and movies. The concept of ghosts appearing and becoming man’s conscience is a common occurrence as well in several media presentations today. The lessons that Scrooge’s story brings to every reader up to this day are priceless, making this piece a timeless classic and worthy of revisit from time to time especially during Christmas season. I do not have enough words to explain how this story has been very impactful. What I can do now is give this story a 5-star rating and add myself to A Christmas Carol’s bandwagon that highly recommends this book.
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