A Christmas Carol for Dickens in December

One forgets, upon opening Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, that Scrooge is visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve. The first is his partner, Marley, who tells him, “I wear the chain I forged in life…I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?” Immediately we are confronted with the image of bearing what we have ourselves created, a string of good deeds or bad all connected and resting round our bodies.
This is what I loved most about A Christmas Carol. Not the wonderful descriptions of Victorian England, which indeed feel more like Christmas to me than any other setting, but the way Dickens’ story caused me to reflect on my own life.
How funny, in a terrible way, that when Scrooge’s nephew leads a Game called Yes and No, he was “thinking of an animal, a life animal, rather a disagreeable animal, a savage animal, an animal that growled and grunted sometimes, and talked sometimes and lived in London, and walked about the streets, and wasn’t made a show of, and wasn’t led by anybody, and didn’t live in a menagerie and was never killed in a market, and was not a horse, or an ass, or a cow, or a bull, or a tiger, or a dog, or a pig, or a cat, or a bear.” And so with wondering what kind of chain I have created in my life, I’m now wondering what kind of animal I would be…
The revelation of all the woe that one has consciously, or unconsciously, wrought begs only one question: “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me by an altered life?” Because the hope of Christmas brings a new beginning, a new year in which to try to set things right.
That is what I love most about this story, for it is a story of redemption. Once shown his evil ways, Scrooge wakes on Christmas Day, a bright, sunny, cheerful morning with a bright, sunny, cheerful heart. He is determined to make up for what he had failed to do in his stinginess and depravity; once shown the error of his ways, he now begins anew thus negating everything the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has revealed.

(I read this novel for Caroline and Delia‘s Dickens in December Challenge.)

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9 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol for Dickens in December

  1. Thanks for joining, Bellezza. I think what I like most is that there is the possibility fro redemption – for Scrooge but not for Marley. Or maybe, but we are not told, in warning Scrooge, Marley can better his fate as well?
    The ending is really perfect as well feel how sunny a day it is, how Scrooge starts to enjoy life for the first time in years and that he will make things better for himself and others.
    The first time I read it I was completely absorbed by the descriptions, this time, like you, I was comparing myself.

  2. I suppose you could say I was comparing myself to the story, but while writing the post I was thinking more about the general state of mankind. At any rate, it's a good reminder that we are what we do and say. I always want to be a blessing to others. I always want to shed light rather than despair.

    I loved reading Dickens this month. I also read The Chimes though I haven't posted on it. Thanks for the inspiration to do so!

  3. I, too, thought of myself and asked myself if I had any Scrooge-like traits. But, of course, it isn't only miserliness (from which, I think, I DON'T suffer, thank goodness) but EVERYTHING we do that forges the chains we bear. When Scrooge remarks on the importance of a kind word, I DO see room for improvement in myself – and I've already acted on this :-)

  4. I do love the descriptions in this novel, but I have to agree with you, this story made me think of my own life. How long would my chain be, if I have one. No one is perfect, but we can all try to be better.

  5. I love the idea of redemption in this book as well–that we have the power to forge ahead and make better the mistakes that we have made in the past. While there isn't much we can do about the things we have done or the things we have said, we can do a great deal about what we do today and tomorrow. I'm glad Delia and Caroline hosted this readalong.

  6. I signed up to reread it but didn't – just not in the mood. Did spend a few minutes watching some of the George C. Scott film, however.

    Poor Scrooge, yes, he is redeemed but still there is a ton of life he jettisoned that he will never recover (although there may be some compensations) and the pain of those losses will remain.

  7. What a lovely review.
    It's true – reading this – you definitely can't help thinking about whether you're a good person or not. Sometimes we're just so caught up in life and getting through each day that it's a bit like we forget to enjoy it and forget to share it with others. This book makes you wonder if you could be better and that's not really a bad thing.
    Lynn :D

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