Saturday, 9 January 2010

A Christmas Carol

This is actually a repeat of my post for last year. I can't really think of anything to add to it (well, I could, but it would probably really start to bore people because I tend to get a little excited about the book), or change, so I'm just re-posting. Bit of a cheat really, but at least I'm owning it.

What can I say? It’s one of my all-time favourite books and I read it every year at Christmas time. It’s a little on the kitschy side with Scrooge’s utter reversal of characters, but it’s cheery and Christmassy and it’s nice to think that there was a happy ending for all. I found out just this year that this work was responsible for a Christmas revival in England. Apparently many Christmas traditions had been dying out and the season was becoming a rather dreary one, but Scrooge helped turn it around and make Christmas a festive season again. It’s fantastic that one book, one written to pay off debts no less, is responsible for doing so much.

One aspect I like about the story is that it shows not only what Scrooge has become, but what he once was as well. When introduced to people and characters with negative attitudes or mean dispositions, we often assume this is the way they have always been. It’s like imagining that your mother was once young and careless, which seems so impossible when she’s become the complete opposite in the meantime. Scrooge was once a happy person who knew how to laugh and celebrate. He became, or let himself become, what he was as a result of his experiences and disappointments in life and not because he was born dour and mean. It’s a warning to us all not to let ourselves become our own enemies. Fred has it right when he says that Scrooge is the one suffering for all his misery and not the people around him. Looked upon in that light, Scrooge could be considered to be damned twice over, once in life and once after death.

Of course, you could argue that had Scrooge never known what it was like to be happy and make others happy, his “cure” would never have worked. It was all more of a revival of his old self than the creation of a new man. Again, this ties in with the revival of the Christmas spirit in the time. It was once and just needed to be revived.

Finally, I think this book must say quite a bit about its author. Dickens was apparently quite an odd man and possibly not as moral as he should have been, but he must have been an intrinsically good, compassionate human being to have been able to write a book out of which so much good came.

An easy and enjoyable read for all ages. Love it.

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