Sunday, November 8, 2015

Literary Studies: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

by M. J. Joachim


Classic and endearing, A Christmas Carol enumerates the true essence of the spirit of Christmas in Dickens tale, publish just prior to the holiday season of 1843. Throughout the years, Scrooge became a household name for anyone who didn’t appreciate this joyous time of year, engaging in the good will of spreading happiness and peace far and wide, regardless of economic or social status in society. Indeed, Dickens portrays every class, occupation and undertaking in characters written to enhance the story and inspire his message into the hearts of all.

Publishers weren’t too keen on the idea of publishing this fine novel, so Dickens took it upon himself to do so, endeavoring to make it a huge success during and beyond the holiday season. “By Christmas it sold six thousand copies and it continued to be popular into the new year. Eight stage adaptations were in production within two months of the book’s publication,” states Marsha Perry, publisher of Charles Dickens Info.

Emphasis on Scrooge’s transformation in A Christmas Carol is dramatized through each visit of the ghosts from past, present and future. Scrooge goes from a groveling miser, a man known for his lack of charity and hoarding his money, to a cautious fool, utterly confused by the phantoms who engage him. Recognizing his own role in their apparitions, he slowly comes around to a contrasting point of view from his own convictions. His heart begins to unravel, permitting him to be vulnerable to his own selfishness and imperfections, supporting his realizations that change is his only option, and indeed his truest desire by the end of the story.

Generosity knows no bounds once a man’s heart has been augmented in such a way. Scrooge interprets his visions most accurately, opting to use them to his benefit, even going so far as to encourage them to help him become a better man. He willingly embraces the journey to enlighten his own psyche, plunging into the nightmares he is having and encouraging them to escort him into the future, where he is given a second chance at life.

Charles Dickens was only too familiar with the plight of those less fortunate than himself, expressly taking a keen interest in suffering children, as he himself suffered as a child. The third apparition shows Ignorance and Want - children hiding under the ghost of future’s robes, where Scrooge is warned there is nothing more pitiful and frightening than this. Scrooge is also chastised by his own words throughout the story, mocked for determining the world’s population would be better off with less needy people, promoting their deaths as it were, rather than helping them in their time of need.

Dickens message is bold, clear and meritorious. Christmas is a state of mind, a way of life and an honest desire to love and be charitable toward others, not only during the festive holiday season, but all throughout the year. As the holiday season approaches, many of us will revisit this special holiday classic. It is my hope that we do so as so much more than a holiday tradition, opening our eyes and hearts to each infinitesimal detail, that we might be renewed with a deepened sense of the spirit of Christmas, prolonging the season well into the new year, and if all is as it should be, until the following Christmas too.

Best of Sunday to you all,

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Marley’s Ghost, British Library CCO-Share Alike Attribution Universal Public Domain Dedication