A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is the well-known story of a miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge hates everyone. He mistreats his poor clerk, Bob Cratchit. All Scrooge cares about is making money. To Christmas he says, “Bah, Humbug!” On one Christmas Eve, he leaves work to return to his dark and dreary home. Strange things begin to happen. Scrooge is home alone as usual, but he sees and hears things out of the ordinary. He dismisses these at first, until suddenly, to his astonishment, the ghost of his partner appears to him. Jacob Marley, his long-dead business partner, is wearing heavy chains. Marley explains to Scrooge that his chains were formed during his lifetime by evil and selfish deeds, and now he must carry them through the afterlife. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer the same fate if he does not change his ways.
As the familiar story goes, Scrooge is visited by three additional spirits. The spirits show Scrooge the importance of caring for other people. Gradually, Scrooge realizes the error of his former ways, and finally resolves to change his life. When he awakes on Christmas morning, he goes about spreading Christmas cheer, even to the surprise of Cratchit and his family.
I love this book and its inspiring message. To me, this is a book about change. Scrooge seemed like a person who would never change his ways. But even he was able to change. He learned the value of kindness toward others. He also learned to care for those less fortunate than him.
This book is quite short compared to many of Dickens’ other books, but for good reason this is considered one of his masterpieces. As we expect from Charles Dickens, the book is extremely well-written and wonderfully descriptive. Take for example his description of the city streets: “The house-fronts looked black enough, and the windows blacker, contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs, and with the dirtier snow upon the ground.”
Dickens masterfully describes many contrasting images throughout the book. On the one hand we see haunting ghosts and miserable living conditions, but we also see hope and cheerfulness, and finally the redemption of a miserly old man. This book is highly enjoyable to read and we can learn many lessons from it. It is great to read around Christmas, but I would recommend it any time of the year.