A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A review of the classic novella A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Image Credit: 
Arthur Rackham / Public Domain

A Christmas Carol, or A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas to give it its full title, is one of those stories that everybody knows the gist of but quite a lot of those people won’t have read the actual story. It’s an important part of our history because of the legacy that it has left.

A Christmas Carol is a story about Ebenezer Scrooge, a relatively evil man that hates Christmas. He’s visited by the three ghosts of Christmas: Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, as well as the spectre of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob is now suffering greatly because of the greed he exhibited in life. He warns Ebenezer not to follow the same path and, ultimately, suffer the same fate as him.

Christmas Past shows Scrooge his past, naturally. Scrooge’s lonely childhood and his neglected once-fiancée. The ghost then shows Scrooge the fiancée with her new family, happy and celebrating Christmas. Christmas Present shows Scrooge the present: people being happy and celebrating Christmas preparations. He also shows him a dying Tiny Tim, whose family can’t afford to treat him properly because of the salary that Scrooge pays. Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his future: a funeral that nobody attends and a gravestone that is unkempt and left to ruin.

Scrooge awakens from his nightmare a changed man. He starts to treat others generously and with kindness. And isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?

It is a well-written story and is definitely worth a read if you’re able to immerse yourself in the classic way that it is written; it is from 1843, after all. Dickens does a good job of conveying the terror that the ghosts impart and it is genuinely chilling in places. Even “Merry Christmas” was made popular and brought into common usage by this story, not to mention all of the other elements that come from this small novella. A Christmas Carol is a classic that has proliferated into the social consciousness.

Davina Chime is a Thanet-born hopeless romantic.

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