A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens“Marley was as dead as a doornail.”

We all know this treasured Christmas story.  Scrooge, a cantankerous old bachelor who lives a solitary life and whose sole purpose is to increase his wealth, initially has a vision of his dead partner, Jacob Marley, on his doorknocker.  Not one for fancy, Scrooge humbugs his daydream, but when he is visited by Marley’s ghost, which is then succeeded by three other spirits – the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future, Scrooge learns many lessons of what he has lost, what he has become, and his fate if he continues on his selfish and merciless path.

Published in London on December 19, 1843, A Christmas Carol achieved instant recognition and critical acclaim which has never waned. Born out of Dickens’ distress at the plight of the poor and the working conditions of children, A Christmas Carol also came at a time when the British people were reassessing old Christmas traditions as well as bringing in new.  At a time when children and adults were viewed as a commodity as workers, with his novella Dickens encouraged a humanity among fellow human-beings, employer and employee alike as if we are all “fellow-passengers to the grave,” and need each other.  We are all inter-connected and have the ability to make others’ lives happy or miserable to a lesser and greater extent, depending upon our own actions.  With Scrooge, Dickens illustrated a transformation in one human being which mirrored a change that he felt was important for society as a whole to increase both individual and collective happiness.

A Christmas Carol Marley's Ghost

For me, A Christmas Carol affected me on a more specific level reminding me of an important point.  Life can chip away at you, little by little, without you realizing that it’s fundamentally altering who you are as a person.  Scrooge, beginning from his life as a boy, faced numerous challenging and tragic circumstances.  Instead of taking those circumstances and struggling to apply them for the good of his character, Scrooge allowed them to affect him negatively on an emotional level.  Without being aware of the change, slowly Scrooge’s views became more myopic until he could no longer see what was before him and finally “his spirit never strayed outside of his counting house.”  Scrooge would look at what was wrong with others, but, until the visit of the spirits, Scrooge never looked at Scrooge.

And so let us all learn a lesson from this old miser-turned philanthropist, that whenever strife or problems come your way, work to turn them to your profit to improve your character and thus, as Tiny Tim says, God bless us, every one ….. 🙂

Further reading:

Ruth at A Great Book Study has a wonderful post about A Christmas Carol and Dickens so check it out.

And here are a few more reviews of Dickens’ stories on Classical Carousel:

15 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Mudpuddle! To tell you the truth, it’s been so long since I’ve written a full-length book review that I struggled with this one, so your words mean alot. And ha, ha, yes …… mostly everyone is less verbose than Dickens! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Diana! I haven’t seen the one with Jim Carrey so thanks for the recommendation. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!

  1. Aw, thanks, Cleo! : )

    I was going to add to your great point…in which you mention his mistreatment growing up and how it shaped him negatively (so sad b/c this happens to so many people)…another common problem is how people (more specifically men) turn to their work for fulfillment, and they neglect the relationships in their lives, such as Scrooge did. His work and his money were more important to him than that lovely partner he could have had for life, who would have softened him and made him human! Goodness knows, many men throw themselves into their work, neglecting the souls of their children and the hearts of their wives. They miss great opportunities to be the best men they can be by becoming slaves to their money and success.

    Sorry, I just had to get that out there.

    • Great point, Ruth! Thanks for adding that.

      And sorry that your comments are not appearing immediately. I turned my moderation off which worked for a bit, but suddenly even though it’s still off, it’s making me moderate them. Hopefully somehow I’ll figure out how to fix it. Ugh! :-Z

    • Adding to your thoughts, I think things used to be different historically because husband and wife used to work together towards a common goal. Everyone still worked hard but they weren’t separated doing it. Now, we each have different jobs in different sectors and the home is not necessary considered as important a place as it used to be. This brings division and less cohesiveness within a family. But in Scrooge’s particular case, you’re right. He chose work to escape from life, which included relationships. Sad, but happy he was able to change … many don’t want to put the effort in to change, but it’s nice to read about someone who did! 🙂

  2. A Christmas Carol is always such a wonderful classic to read. I think it’s one that a person should read a few times in one’s life… as you will probably rasp different elements and lessons better each time you read it.

    I recently watched the movie of “The Man Who Invented Christmas”… it was fabulous. Of course, it’s not very true-to-life of Dickens. But in an abstract way it tells the story of A Christmas Carol as it’s playing out in Dickens’ head… I thought it was a very unique twist.


    • Yes, A Christmas Carol should be read slowly and savoured at least a few times. Thanks for the movie recommendation, Tarissa. It sounds wonderful! I’ll look it up.

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