A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Posted On 21 December 2012

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For the month of December I decided to read a couple of Dickens book as part of an event being hosted by Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat) and Delia (Postcards from Asia).  Actually, rather sensibly for me, I only really undertook to read two books – Great Expectations which I will review in a few days and a Christmas Carol which I will today be answering questions on provided by our lovely hosts.  If you haven’t read this book then you may want to stop reading as the Q&A below will undoubtedly contain spoilers.

Before I even start I must say that A Christmas Carol was just as lovely to read as it was on the past 5 or 6 occasions that I’ve already read it!  On top of this I also watched A Muppet Christmas Carol this month (just to keep in the spirit of things) – I actually had the film playing whilst I was putting up the decorations.  I love that film.  I realise it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I just can’t help myself.  Plus the songs are great.  How odd is it that in spite of watching this film countless times and reading the book quite a few it never occurred to me before now that instead of just Jacob Marley, as in the book, we have a double helping of Marley’s in the film played by the two curmudgeonly old guys who always used to heckle from the theatre balconies.  Anyway, onto the questions:

Is this the first time you are reading the story?

Nope, at least 5 or six times.  Difficult to remember now!

Did you like it?

I’ve always liked this story.  It has a timeless appeal.  I probably saw the film before the book.  I seem to recall seeing the old black and white version of this film with Alistair Sim followed a couple of years later by a cartoon version.  Anyway, the films led me to the books which is unusual for me as usually its the other way around.

Which was your favorite scene?

This is really tough.  Making a choice.  I do like the scene when Marley first appears – probably because of the dialogue between the two ‘more of gravy than of grave’.  I love that line (I also love the scene with Bob and Mrs Cratchit are toasting Scrooge’s health).  I think probably on reflection I really enjoy the scene where the last spirit has ended his visitation and Scrooge is back in his bedchamber and comes to realise that it’s still Christmas Day.  It’s great that scene and also, although I can’t pretend to remember how I originally felt when I first read the book it’s unexpected.  One minute you’re with this scary critter standing next to a tombstone and then you’re back in a bedroom and the sense of relief that comes across for Scrooge is just really infectious in that it sort of makes you smile also.

Which was your least favorite scene?

I don’t really have any problems with any of the scenes but I guess the only time I felt a little more detached was on some of the journeys with the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Not that I didn’t enjoy them – thinking about visiting the seamen, etc, I totally understand what Dickens was doing with these scenes but they didn’t have the same enjoyment factor for me and I think that’s because they weren’t related to Scrooge or his story.  They were random people who were being visited to show that the spirit of Christmas is everywhere.

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?

I liked the spirit of Christmas Past probably the most (although the sinister stories with the pawn shop were pretty good!)  I really enjoyed seeing Scrooge’s past.  His time spent at school, his sister, Fezziwig, breaking the contract with his fiancee – all a great insight into his character and the way he eventually changed.

Was there a character you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about Scrooge’s family – particularly why he was left for such a long period at school.  How he managed to keep a decent relationship with his sister despite hardly ever seeing her and probably a bit more about his nephew.  I cheated a bit there because a whole family got included in this answer!

How did you like the end?

Well, I suppose the ending is very sweet – probably a bit overly so – but I like it.  It’s perfect for the time of year and gives you a good feeling.

Did you think it was believable?

Well, as believable as a ghost story can be.  I mean, what is believable is the story itself of somebody turning themselves around and changing their behaviour for the better.  It’s just a great story of redemption with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.  At the end of the day I love a good ghost story – and three ghosts with a message to relate, at Christmas.  It’s the perfect recipe.

Do you know anyone like Scrooge?

Yes!  Well, probably not quite as bad as Scrooge.  We definitely have somebody at work who could peel an orange in his pocket and who, when he opens his wallet, moths fly out.  Kidding aside – I suppose it’s more likely to know a few people with maybe one or more of his traits.

Did he deserve to be saved?

Yes, I absolutely believe he did.  Okay, he wasn’t soft and cuddly and he wasn’t short of saying or thinking some pretty mean sentiments but he pretty soon came round.  Plus, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him for his past which obviously had a massive influence on him.  He clearly went down the route of thinking money would make everything good in his world but obviously became so focused on that that he eventually excluded all the good things and therefore had nobody in his life to enjoy things with any more.  It’s sad because by the time Scrooge is redeemed he’s basically in his twilight year and has missed so much but it’s also happy because he’s realised the error of his ways and he is in a position to make a difference for others.