It gets harder and harder to feel the atmosphere of the forthcoming Christmas and New Year, but I do my best to cheer myself up and prepare for the time of magic. One of the steps that I’ve taken is reading “Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
I haven’t read it before, though I watched an animated movie based on the book which is really really good. My brother liked it so much that rewatched it a few times and later he got the whole book as a present.
I was really surprised by the fact that it took Dickens 6 weeks (a month and a half) to write Christmas Carol. I thought that it took him longer to write such a masterpiece.
Let’s begin with a small summary of the story though probably all of you know what this book is about. The main character of the story is Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly creditor for whom money is much more important than people and even Christmas. At night, Scrooge’s former partner Jacob Marley, dead for seven years, visits him in the form of a ghost and warns Scrooge that Three Spirits will come to him over the next three nights.
The first ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Past who shows Scrooge scenes from the past that trace Scrooge’s development from a young boy, lonely but with the potential for happiness, to a young man with the first traces of greed that would deny love in his life.
The second visitor is the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Scrooge several current scenes of Christmas joy and charity, then shows him the Cratchit household. The Ghost informs Scrooge that unless the future is changed, the Cratchit’s crippled and good-hearted young son will die.
Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come replaces the other ghost by showing Scrooge several scenes of people discussing someone’s death; no one seems pained by the death, and most are happy about it. He learns that Tiny Tim has died, but the Cratchits maintain their unity and love. Scrooge finally discovers that he is the one who has died and whose death has only pleased people. He expresses the hope that these scenes of the future can be changed.
Scrooge wakes up in his bedroom and learns that the whole adventure took only one night, but not three. It is Christmas Day. He sends a large turkey to the Cratchits, gives a sizable donation to the charity worker he previously insulted, and has a wonderful time at Fred’s party. The next day he gives Cratchit a raise. He never sees the ghosts again, but likes Christmas now. Moreover, now people are the first in the list of his priorities. Money is not so important anymore.
The book is not so difficult to read, but it’s quite intriguing and exciting. With the help of the ghosts we learn more about the main character and his biography. At the same time the book abounds with this unique atmosphere of Christmas and miracles yet to come.
One of the most prominent literary features of the book is character study. The main character of the book is round, though in the beginning of the book we may be deceived by Scrooge’s lines and behavior. He seems to be extremely miserly and hostile, and he really is, but he didn’t always use to be like that. With the help of the ghosts we learn more about Ebenezer, we see his story and sympathize with him.
There are lots of similes and metaphors in the text to make the picture and events before Christmas more colorful and to immerse the reader.
A Christmas Carol appears most commonly as a novella, a fairytale in five parts. It blends many genres, including elements of Gothic literature, ghost stories, and Christmas tales.
The main idea of the book is redemption and free will. You can change your mindset and attitude to life and people is you want. There is also the theme of Rich vs. Poor in the 1800’s and how each was treated.
Ebenezer Scrooge has seriously changed throughout the book. In the beginning of the story he is a cruel creditor who appreciates money more than people, welfare more than traditions. He’s cold-hearted and skeptical of everything happening in this world. But the ghosts remind him who he used to be, remind him of his fatal mistakes connected with his worldview and show what will happen if he doesn’t change. The episode when the third ghost shows the grave with Scrooge’s name on it seems to be the most significant. It shows how serious the situation is and how wrong the main character was thinking that money is the most important thing ever. No matter how much money you have. What matters is what you do for this world and people around you. Your good and kind deeds matter. Do you want to die rich and make people happy with your death or do you want people to miss you and remember how good you were? The answer is obvious.
There are also some good words that I’d like to share with you. Maybe you’re not familiar with some of them.
AVARICE — extreme greed for material wealth
REVERED — profoundly honored
FORBEARANCE — self-control, patience
HOMAGE — honor, tribute
STRIVE — to exert much effort or energy
APPARITION — spirit, phantom, ghost
TARRY — to leave slowly and hesitantly
It was a great book and good timing. If some of you don’t feel Christmas, make sure to read this book :) or at least watch an animated movie.