A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens [Review]

It is that time of year when trees have been put up, lights are twinkling and gifts are being opened and enjoyed by children and adults. Santa Claus can rest easy knowing that all the children and adults of the world have received their gifts. Snow is falling, carols are being sang and families gather together to enjoy the holidays and enjoy a lovely Christmas meal.

a christmas carolEvery year, during this season I read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I believe that it is a book that can be read any time of the year and not only at Christmas. However, one year I was stuck in an airport trying to get home to Greece for Christmas and had a copy of the ‘Christmas Carol’. I starting reading it, I don’t know whether it was because of the situation I was in or just because I wanted to get in the Christmas spirit but it was like reading the book for the first time again and felt much better about my situation at the time.  I was excited and captivated in Scrooge’s journey and the visits from the three (or four if you want to be more honest) ghosts. The moral message of this book is to be kind, generous at Christmas and be happy with what you have.

Charles Dickens’s novel A Christmas Carol is a classic that even if it was written in the 1800s, a person today will still enjoy it. This story has an engrossing plot, captivating descriptions, and true motifs for moral transformation.

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The story follows miserable Ebenezer Scrooge who not only ignores Christmas and neglects to celebrate it himself but also expressed spitefulness to those who could not pay off investments. The story then continues with Scrooge being visited by the ghost of his late partner in business,  Jacob Marley, seven years to the day after his death, falling on Christmas Eve, and told to mend his ways, so as to avoid a miserable fate like his. Scrooge is then visited by three ghosts, the ghost of Christmas Past, the ghost of Christmas Present and the ghost of Christmas Future. The description of Scrooge, his cold world, and his cold heart, rises and falls like a biting wind, and the very image of Scrooge tumbles from the page as if blown in from a storm. “The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.”

At the end of the tale, a sick child who seemed destined to die is cured, and an evil man turns over a new leaf and becomes generous and affectionate. Good triumphs over evil, good-heartedness and good cheer over poverty and misery. Even though we all know that that does not happen everywhere in the world. Charles Dickens can be a bit gloomy when coming to tell a story, but by the end of the book you feel warm, good-hearted and happy for the characters in the book.

As Dickens devised his story, he “wept, and laughed, and wept again, and excited himself in the most extraordinary manner”, walking about the London streets by night.  Charles Dickens has probably had more influence on the way that we celebrate Christmas today as it was the Christmas stories of Dickens, particularly his 1843 masterpiece A Christmas Carol, that rekindled the joy of Christmas in Britain and America. A Christmas Carol continues to this day to be relevant, ‘sending a message that cuts through the materialistic trappings of the season’ (David Perdue) and gets to the heart and soul of the holidays.

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Dickens describes the holidays 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 other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

— K.J. Koukas

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