My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: 1843
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Classics, Christmas, Family, Ghosts
In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meagre income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favourite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.
With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warm-hearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.
I shall start by introducing you to Ebenezer Scrooge. According to the narrator, the cold-hearted, unholy and inconsiderate man we have as main character.
While he is described as such:
External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often came down handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
Part of me was surprisingly not negatively thinking about the old man. Some despised him, but I couldn’t do such a thing, because he may have said hurtful things to people, but it’s not like he ruined someone’s life.
He has some good in him, and I could see it from the start somehow. Now I am not sure if this is all coming from my having viewed the movie prior to reading this, if that’s the reason why I became attached to him and empathized with him, because of everything he went through but, one thing I know is that I never ‘hated’ Scrooge.
Don’t worry if you’re not too fond of him at first. He does, as you surely know already, have a fantastic and noticeable character development!
‘Spirit,’ said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, ‘tell me if Tiny Tim will live.’
‘I see a vacant seat,’ replied the Ghost,’ 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.’
‘No, no,’ said Scrooge. ‘Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.’
See, I was sure there was good in him…*wink* *wink*
This may sound quite strange to you, maybe, but I didn’t find an even, adequate and well-fitting atmosphere in this book. Sure, most scenes were sad or merry or eerie but it’s like, in my point of view, the author neglected it and concentrated more on the writing and characterization – for those elements to be outstanding (and they were!) – than the story itself.
Tiny Tim – especially him – Scrooge and Fred are people that will be carefully buried inside my mind and will rest there for as long as I will cherish them, which is forever.
Also, since this is a short novel, though containing a simple, well-plotted and easy to follow story, we don’t see the secondary characters as often as we may wish. For instance, Tiny Tim is my favorite of them all (I wasn’t able to resist him), but I could only read of him here and there, tiny bits of information, which is a little disappointing but, ultimately, understandable.
‘There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, 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!’
Oh, even though this surely isn’t the best Christmas book I have read so far, it is a classic and, truthfully, how many of them make us see the importance of being kind to others, open-minded and thoughtful? How many warm our hearts? How many make us imagine our future transform into a better one? If you enjoyed this classic and the themes included, you may also find yourself appreciating the endearing story that is Little Women!
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