A Christmas Carol

christmas carol first edition charles dickens
10 Overall Score

Changed Christmas forever, a really odd story if you think about it

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Story Info

Story Title:  “A Christmas Carol”

Publisher:  Chapman & Hall

Writer:  Charles Dickens

Release Date:  December 19, 1843

christmas-carol-illustration-fezziwig-dance

Fezziwig’s Christmas Party

Ebenezer Scrooge is a hateful man.  He is cold, malicious, and cruel to those around him.  The holidays are the worst for Scrooge and he makes those around him suffer for his anger.  This Christmas things are about to change for Ebenezer.  Scrooge is going to visited by his old partner Jacob Marley and Scrooge is about to learn the errors of his ways when he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future…can Scrooge be saved before it is too late?

Written by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” is a short story published by Chapman & Hall on December 19, 1843.  The influential novella changed how the holiday was viewed and has been the source material for movies, books, and TV series.

Christmas as it stands is a result of “A Christmas Carol”.  Christmas was a very different thing when “A Christmas Carol” was written and going through a holiday reform.  The holiday was a holiday full of revelry and drinking and not very family friendly.  With Dickens’ tale, a more family oriented holiday is portrayed…and with the tale’s popularity, it began to change the holiday.

Dickens really invented a lot and popularized the phrases.  Dickens turned Scrooge into not only a popular character but a type of person and a description that everyone understands.  Phrases like “bah, humbug” and “Merry Christmas” weren’t popular at the time and became popular as a result (it developed into Happy Christmas in the UK due to negative connotations with the word “merry” which was more associated with drinking).

christmas-carol-illustration-ghost-of-christmas-present-scrooge

The Ghost of Christmas Present

With such influence, you have to stop and question the weirdness of “A Christmas Carol”.  Scrooge appears to be very dense and I always found it odd that didn’t understand that the process took one night when he finds he didn’t sleep through Christmas.  I never could tell if Scrooge really didn’t recognize his own home and belongings or if he just didn’t want to believe he was dead in the visions of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

I also never understood the process of the ghosts.  Could Scrooge “work off” chain links by doing good deeds or is he still screwed by having a long chain?  It is a little ambiguous, and I find some of these oddities part of what makes the story appealing…it is a little dark and creepy.

The other strange thing I notice is the absence of God and Jesus.  This could relate back to the differences in Christmas now and when the story was written.  Except for Tiny Tim’s “God bless Us, Every One”, the story is rather lacking.  It is much more about purchasing gifts and spending time with family…it is a very modern look at the holiday.

I don’t always love Dickens.  Yes, he gives a really good snapshot of people at the time and he writes concise and solid characters.  His stories however always seem to result in chance encounters (in the sprawling London) and fortunately, “A Christmas Carol” avoids many of what I call Dickens’ “bad traits” (which are minor).  The story has been adapted so many times, it is amazing how close many versions come to the original…with usually one or two minor changes.  With a short length and such influence, I highly recommend checking out “A Christmas Carol” to know the story that changed a holiday.

Related Links:

A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) (1951)

Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)

Scrooge (1970)

An American Christmas Carol (1979)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Scrooged (1988)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)

A Christmas Carol (1999)

Christmas Carol—The Movie (2001)

A Christmas Carol:  The Musical (2004)

Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

Batman:  Noel

Zombies Christmas Carol

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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