Just finishing my Christmas reading… Just like you, I know the whole story of A Christmas Carol, have seen commercials, cartoons, bits and pieces on TV and on the radio. I’ve never seen the play, which runs annually at the Cincinnati Playhouse, or a movie or the whole thing anywhere. I’ve never even wikied it – didn’t have to. I knew enough.
But Charles Dickens has been in my scope all year, and I found out that he really wrote a Christmas story every year. And there in front of me at Joseph-Beth Booksellers was ‘A Christmas Carol and Other Stories’. So this year, that book was part of my Christmas stack.
A Christmas Carol is quite a good book, a good read. A bit much of description. Endless discussions of things to eat, or types of weather or…. I realized where Brian Jacques got many of the ideas for the Redwall books, which I read to grandson Patrick through the nineties.
And the characters were well sketched…. which is good since Dickens clearly was a social reformer, wanted society to become more compassionate, and created the stereotype folk we meet every day. In this time, as in Dickens’ time, we are having the battle between fear and love, between hoarding and providing.
There’s also ‘The Chimes’ and ‘The Haunted Man’. In The Chimes, we are led, through the careless words of a wealthy and nasty man, down a rathole of misery and mistrust. Then, at the end…. we see that path as one choice, and that another choice was actually made. The Haunted Man is less about poverty than about poverty of spirit. Very real and fairly hard to read, from an emotional point of view.
Dickens sure did know his poverty, and makes us feel it as we read. A classic that I’m glad I got acquainted with.