Review of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
A Christmas Carol.In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol is a novella first published in 1843. It was written in a period when Britain was re-evaluating past traditions including carols and newer customs such as Christmas Trees. Academics have argued if it is a fully secular story,or if it is a Christian allegory.
It begins with a miserly old man Ebenezer Scrooge sitting in his counting house on a cold Christmas Eve in London. His clerk Bob Cratchit shivers over a single coal as Scrooge refuses to buy more. Scrooge receives two visits , one from his nephew inviting him to his Christmas celebrations , which he declines.
Second,two gentlemen call asking for a charitable contribution for the poor, He refuses.
When he goes home to his miserable apartment he gets a terrifying visitation from the ghost of his dead partner Jacob Marley. Marley is weighed down by heavy chains and cash boxes and he explains he has been condemned to wander the earth forever in this pitiful state as punishment for his greed and self serving ways. He warns Scrooge that he will be visited that same night by three ghosts.
They will show him the error of his ways and what will happen to him if he does not change his mean and cruel ways.
The apparitions duly appear and he comes to see what he has lost by his love of money but more importantly what he can gain by changing.
Much of Dicken’s works are semi-autobiographical, he was profoundly affected by his father’s bankruptcy and the ensuing poverty. Critics have argued that the opening part of the story covering Scrooge’s unhappy childhood and his aspiration for money to avoid poverty is something of a self parody he feared about himself; the positive transformation of Scrooge is him optimistically seeing himself.
I feel that there is no doubt that this is a masterpiece and that the themes embedded in the book make it highly relevant.
The belief that people and mankind can be redeemed.
Acts of kindness enrich the spirit and lead to more acts of kindness by others.
Unless society reaches out to help those in need ,especially children,society is doomed.
The way we treat others is more valuable than possessions.
Man ‘s offences carries is own punishment.
Through his writing Charles Dickens achieves more than any polemical essays can ever hope to achieve. A Christmas Carol contains everything that a Christmas ghost story should and no- one else has come close to bettering it.
Merry Christmas and God Bless us everyone!
Glennis Cane lives in Brighton and has an MA in Novel Writing from the University of Manchester. Her first visit to Occasional Books was in September 2018