A Christmas Carol

Now that we’re reaching the end of a thoroughly damp and gloomy January, tonight I’m in the mood to revisit the boozy, chocolate-filled week where I, ensconced in my two (yes two!) new dressing gowns, finally settled down to read A Christmas Carol by Dickens.

Surely any reader worth his/her onions is familiar with the very essence of this wonderful ghost story, even those of you who have been living in a hole in the ground for the past 170 years and might have missed the countless theatric and filmic adaptations (yes, including the muppets) of this undeniable classic. After spending a great deal of energy banishing poor Kermit from my mind’s eye, I found myself completely enthralled by Scrooge’s surprisingly witty repartee and the appearance of characters and scenes that I know inside out, despite this being my very first read.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a solitary, miserly old man, so frosty towards his fellow man that;
‘He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; 

and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas…
No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him.  No wind that blew was bitterer than he…’

Following a chilling visit from the spirit of his late business partner Jacob Marley (above), Scrooge is faced with the dire warning that he must change his miserly ways or else be faced with an afterlife of purgatory and suffering. He will be, whether he likes it or not, visited by the ghosts of his Christmases past, present and future who will confront him with his wrongs and (hopefully!) change Scrooge’s ways for the better.

What better way to get into the festive spirit than this wonderfully moral tale, set historically in some very dark, very mean times. As well as the obviously honourable message that Dickens conveys here (with much conviction), he gives us enough frisson and, surprisingly, amusement, to keep the story flowing:

‘Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes; and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which wrapper he had not observed before: he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses…
You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.  There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”‘

What do you all think of A Christmas Carol? And I suppose because it’s the great author’s 200th birthday this year, what do we all think of Charles Dickens in general? I think it may be time for a re-read. The recent televised adaptation of Great Expectations was really quite tantalising…

So...what do you think !?

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