A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The classic novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Was published 19 December 1843. The Novel begins on a “cold, bleak, biting” Christmas Eve exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge is described as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity or benevolence. He hates Christmas, calling it “humbug,” refuses his nephew Fred’s dinner invitation, and rudely turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the Poor. His only “Christmas gift” is allowing his overworked, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay – which he does only to keep with social custom, Scrooge considering it “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!”

However returning home that evening, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost, who warns Scrooge to change his ways or he will share the same miserable afterlife as himself. Scrooge is then visited by three additional ghosts, who accompany him to various scenes with the hope of persuading him to mend his miserly ways. The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of his boyhood and youth, which stir the old miser’s gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. They also show what made Scrooge the miser that he is, and why he dislikes Christmas so much.

 

The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, beckons “come in man and know me better”. The spirit takes Scrooge to several differing scenes – a joy-filled market of people buying stuff for Christmas dinner, the celebration of Christmas in a miner’s cottage, and a lighthouse. They also visit the family feast of Scrooge’s impoverished clerk Bob Cratchit, introducing his youngest son, Tiny Tim, who is seriously ill but cannot afford treatment due to Scrooge’s unwillingness to pay Cratchit a decent wage. The spirit and the miser also visit Scrooge’s nephew’s party. The spirit also warns Scrooge against the perils of ignorance and want.

The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, scares Scrooge witless with dire visions of the future. These include Tiny Tim’s death as well as scenes related to Scrooge’s own death including a conversation among business associates who will only attend the funeral if lunch is provided. Scrooge’s charwoman Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s laundress, and the undertaker steal some of Scrooge’s belongings and sell them to a fence named Old Joe. Scrooge’s own neglected and untended grave is then revealed, which terrifies the old miser into changing his ways.

Following the visits by the three spirits Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning a changed man with joy and love in his heart. He then spends the day with his nephew’s family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. In fact such is the completeness of his transformation that Scrooge has become a different man overnight and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas. A Christmas Carol has also been adapted for stage, film and television numerous times and remains a firm favourite during Christmas.

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