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A Christmas Carol

by Bryony Harrison (follow)
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a christmas carol, charles dickens

Charles Dickens is considered one of the finest authors in history due to his mastery of character names, in-depth plots, and the way he teases out a mystery.

Despite his brilliance for coming up with believable characters and creating atmosphere, I do not think he was a very good writer. Dickens waffles, he babbles, he's pompous, pretentious, and long winded. In short, Charles Dickens over eggs the pudding.

The example I always refer to is Bleak House, in which about the first five pages are dedicated to describing fog.

For that reason I enjoy television adaptations of his books, but not the novels themselves. The only exception to this is A Christmas Carol. As a novella of less than a hundred and fifty pages, Dickens had to force himself to be more streamlined - saying that, he still suffers from pen incontinence during the opening, by going on a tangent about the simile 'dead as a doornail'.

a christmas carol, charles dickens

Here, however, Dickens's waffling feels more comedic than in his tragic tales. Most of the humour comes from protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man with a heart of stone, and soul as black as cole.

Despite saying 'bah humbug' to every word of cheer that comes is way, I can't help but sympathise. As a loner with depression, I can only too well relate to the irritation of people shoving Christmas spirit in his face, when all he wants is to be left alone. Excessively happy people can get on anyone's nerves, and unfortunately for Scrooge, that's what the entire town seems to be made up of. At least as Christmas

Samaritans knock on is door for charity, family invite him round for lunch, and employees ask for a day off. All Scrooge wants to do is mourn the death of his one and only friend, his business partner, Jacob Marley.

Scrooge has been mourning for seven years, and could be compared to Queen Victoria, who after the death of her husband remained in eternal mourning.

a christmas carol, charles dickens

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge receives a visit from Marley, who returns as a ghost to warn Scrooge against his brooding ways. Marley now pays for his sins in the afterlife, clamped, chained, and tortured. Scrooge still has a chance to avoid that fate if he reforms.

A Christmas Carol tells the story of Scrooge's visit from three more ghosts, who show him his past, present and future. Has the loss of so many loved ones cause Scrooge to put up a barrier, and close off any attempt at friendship? How has this attitude affected the lives of those around him? What will others thing of him when he's gone?

Dickens promotes good will to all - a bit rich for someone who did not practice what he preached - and it is one of his few books with a wholly happy ending. It is a great story to read at Christmas, but carries a sentiment that should last all year round.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Published: 19th December 1843

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