A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a novella that was first published in 1843. It is a book that you can read in under two hours, which is unlike many books written by Charles Dickens. He used his books as social criticisms for what was going on in his world.
A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a tightfisted, mean-spirited, man, the kind of person who rains on your parade with his sour disposition, always complaining and finding fault with everyone. The story starts on Christmas Eve, and we learn from the narrator that Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, is dead as a doornail – he died seven years ago. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, is copying letters in another room, and Scrooge has the door open so that he can make sure that his employee is not using logs to warm up his room. His nephew, Fred visits to wish him a Merry Christmas, and to invite him over for Christmas dinner. As usual, Scrooge declines the invitation because he is a grouch who wants no part of Christmas. What happens to someone why they would become like Scrooge?
Ebenezer Scrooge is so tightfisted that he resents having to pay Bob for not working Christmas day. Before he departs for the day, two men who are described as portly are fundraising to feed the hungry and poor, but Scrooge has some very harsh and cruel words for them, and they leave his office without a donation. When he is about to open the door to his home, the door knocker is transformed momentarily into the ghostly face of his dead business partner, Marley. Before he can make too much of what he is seeing, the apparition disappears and he sees the door knocker again. The reader knows what is going to come next.
When he enters his room, to be on the safe side, he double locks himself in. Scrooge hears a bell ringing, which stops, but is replaced by a clanking sound – dragging chains, which is associated with ghosts. The cellar door bursts open, up the stairs, and through the closed door comes the ghost of Jacob Marley. Scrooge asks his dead partner what he wants, and the ghost has come to warn him to change his errant ways else he will be like him Marley who has been wandering around, unable to rest in peace because he was not charitable when he was alive. Scrooge learns that he will be visited by three ghosts.
The first ghost is the Ghost of Christmas Past, and the reader learns that Ebenezer Scrooge was not always a mean person, he used to enjoy Christmas, and liked and respected others. He had a very difficult childhood and was often alone. He had a friend who he was close to, and they vowed to marry each other, but Scrooge changed his priorities, and the more money he acquired, the more he wanted, so the woman walked away from him, and he let her go. When the first ghost takes him back to his past, Scrooge sees his once betrothed, and how happy she is surrounded by a loving husband and children. The transformation begins for him – he hasn’t lost his humanity, it was only buried deep inside. He is reminded that he was once poor.
The next ghost that visits Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Present who he follows willingly. And although the ghost takes Scrooge all over, a lot of time is spent seeing how happy his nephew is with his wife and friends. Despite being poor, there is a lot of laughter in their lives. He also spends a lot of time seeing Bob Cratchit, and his family. They appreciate each other and are grateful for the little that they have, because having each other is enough for them. His family doesn’t like Scrooge, but Cratchit toasts his employer because he is happy to be employed.
The third and final ghost, is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and at that point in time, Scrooge has just died and no one is mourning him – they care about getting some of his possessions. With each ghostly encounter, he is further transformed into a more charitable, merciful, and humane person, so by the third encounter, Scrooge is repenting and begging for a second chance, which he is given.
Ebenezer Scrooge makes use of his second chance and changes his ways. He buys a turkey for the Cratchit family, and he goes to Fred for Christmas dinner. He also encounters one of the portly men, and promises to make a donation.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a story that reminds us that no one is all bad, and that we are capable of changing our bad ways and habits. Most of us are given second chances, but not everyone makes use of them. As the holiday season is among us, the book is a great reminder that we are our brother’s keeper.
One interesting tidbit is that the name “Scrooge” and exclamation “Bah! Humbug!” came into the English Language as a result of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Have you read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!
Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people.
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