Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: 9780553212440 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

The novel is mainly about a miser. A miser had saved a lot of money, yet he was unwilling to add a lump of coal to the clerk’s fire. His nephew kindly invited him to the Christmas Eve party, but he thought his nephew was just trying to take advantage of him by refusing. Activists asked him to give a little Christmas food to the poor, but he was mercilessly rebuffed. He went home at night, and in the darkness he saw a face. Was it really a ghost? Or is it his vision? However, the appearance of the ghost has changed him completely.

Scrooge is visited on Christmas Eve by three Christmas spirits: Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Christmas Past shows him how his sister cared for him in his lonely childhood, and how, as an apprentice, his kind boss, Fitzwig, danced with the crowd and entertained his staff on Christmas Eve. His heart began to soften, and he regretted his treatment of his employees and his transformation from a poor but happy young man to a rich but friendless boss. Present took him to a Christmas party at the home of one of his subordinates. It was a little clerk on a poor salary. There were no Christmas presents, no turkeys, but everyone had a happy smile on their faces. Yet to Come showed him the loneliness of being in bed with no family or friends to see him at Christmas when he was old. He began to rethink the meaning of life, and found that giving was happier than receiving. All this gradually awakened the other side of his humanity — compassion, kindness, love and joy. In an instant, his inherent selfishness and coldness collapsed and disappeared, and he became a good Samaritan.

So on Christmas morning, the morning after the ghost’s visit, Bob, an employee, arrives late for work, expecting Scrooge to be angry. But instead scrooge said to him, “Merry Christmas to you, my good fellow! I’ll give you a raise, and I’ll do my best to help your poor family. Get the fire lit quickly and buy a coal basket.” Then he bought a very big Turkey and had it sent to Bob’s family. Then, on his first visit to his nephew, he greeted people on the street with “Merry Christmas” and they smiled kindly at him. For the first time in his life Scrooge felt truly happy. His heart was laughing, and he felt the real joy of life in his charity.

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

In this work, Porter tells us the story of an eleven-year-old girl. The child lost her mother at an early age, experienced poverty and hardship in life, and then lost her father. As a penniless orphan, she was sent to live with her rich aunt. But the rich, eccentric aunt Polly, who lived alone in a large house, did not welcome her niece. She did not even go to the station to meet her. Instead, she sent a maid, Nancy, so that the little girl mistaken her maid for her aunt.

The little girl cried after knowing this, but she immediately found a reason to be happy and turned tears into laughter. Pollyanna had told many, many people in this town about her theory of happiness, and she thought she was playing a happy game. The child’s happy theory and happy games keep divorcing people from getting divorced, make eccentric Pendleton adopt the orphan Jimmy, make the priest change his foolish ideas, and make the town and the world have an amazing change.

As she lay in her hospital bed after the accident, visitors came in droves. This child loves life and everything beautiful. From her father, a pastor, she learned to see life with a unique eye. The secret to happiness is always to explore and find the love and beauty in life and to pass it on to everyone around her. She had told many people in the town of her happy games, which had brought great changes to the indifferent Aunt Polly, Nancy, Mr. Pendleton, Dr. Chilton, and so on, and had brought about amazing changes in the town.

This work is very different from other works of children’s literature. While Pollyanna is physically and mentally healthy and full of life, the adults around her are sickly and twisted. Like the silver lining on the cloud, in this little girl looking for happiness and beauty, those self-righteous adults are just wasting their lives in a dark world. They have forgotten the essence and meaning of life, so they often create a trap for themselves, which seems ridiculous, even hypocritical.

This little girl, adept at finding joy in misfortune, epitomized the modern American spirit of believing, no matter what the circumstances, that everything would be all right. This optimism may seem naive and blind. But when we read this work carefully, when we see the changes of those who were deeply influenced by Pollyanna, we may realize that it is precisely because life is full of hardship and pain that people need to maintain a happy attitude to meet the unavoidable suffering in life. Never complain about the hard things in life, but learn to face them with tolerance, because as Pollyanna said — if you are willing to look for the good things in life, you will find them.

Film Review: The Pursuit of Happyness​

After watching the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, I began to realize how important it is to never give up and always keep on trying. This movie is actually based off of a true story which made the movie even cooler to watch. The movie is set during the 80’s in San Francisco. It revolves around Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith,  who spent his life savings on portable bone density scanners. Throughout the movie he’s seen going from doctor to doctor, attempting to sell at least two each month, while taking care of his five-year-old son Christopher Jr. who’s played by the young Jaden Smith. However, it’s not as easy as it seems, as Gardner is constantly rejected by doctors. With the difficulty of selling the machines each month, the constant financial demand begins to put a wall up between Chris and his wife Linda. Gardner eventually lands an internship with Dean Witter Reynolds to be a stockbroker. This immensely displeases Linda even more, which causes her to make a decision to move away to New York. This leaves Chris, a now single-dad, to take care of his son. Since they don’t have enough money to pay the rent of their house, they’re forced to move out. They end up staying in different places like a motel, a homeless shelter, and even a restroom at a BART (subway) station. In the end, Chris ends up getting the job at the company to be a stockbroker and ends up forming his very multimillion-dollar brokerage firm.

This movie shows the struggles that people face every day, and it taught me to never give up, no matter what the obstacle might be.

-Phoebe L.

The Pursuit of Happyness is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library