A Christmas Carol

“Bah!” said Scrooge, “Humbug!”; in his classic tale of social conscience and personal morality, Dickens humorously shows us how to be better human beings.

Set in Victorian London – the world Charles Dickens himself would have been familiar with – the story begins on Christmas Eve in the office of Ebenezer Scrooge. Cold, harsh and unwaveringly stingy, Scrooge has become a global emblem of malicious negativity. Bearing no goodwill to any man, Scrooge despises Christmas and openly declares it, even begrudging his impoverished clerk the day off for Christmas. Yet a visit of the supernatural kind irrevocably changes his worldly – and personal – outlook.

Scrooge first begins to notice things are strange when the door-knocker of his grim, dingy lodgings appears to take the face of his long-dead business partner, Jacob Marley. Whilst settling down to his gruel he then hears a distant clanking, as though of chains. Then, despite his firmly locked and bolted door, he sees an elusive figure appearing through it: the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Desperately frightened and shaken to his core, he demands the reason for the ghost’s visit, questioning his own eyes and sanity in the process. The ghost gruesomely explains its terrible fate: like Scrooge, Marley had been a cut-throat, miserly businessman, and as a ghost was suffering the consequences. He warns Scrooge against this end, telling him of three more supernatural visits he will be paid…

These visits are of course from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. These foreboding spirits appear after Marley’s ghost’s eerie departure, gliding upon Scrooge as he sleeps. He is transported to his own past, remembering happiness long forgotten; in the present he is awakened to a fresh perspective, experiencing the hardships he is directly responsible for inflicting on others; and in the future, the grim, friendless ending he could meet.

Concise, original and easy to read, I would definitely recommend this to readers of all ages and tastes. Dickens succeeds in creating an utterly detestable yet pitied character, and forces the reader to look inwardly when regarding the life and actions of Scrooge. Like many of his other novels, it focuses on the poor and desperate of society, contrasting them strikingly with the riches of London’s middle and upper classes.

Cleverly crafted and brilliantly told, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a masterpiece of a moral fable. Ultimately it is a tale of social conscience, with the underlying hope that it is never too late to transform your character and undergo a change for the better. Take Scrooge as an example:

“His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.”

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas 🙂

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