A Christmas Carol – Book Review #6

A Christmas Carol is a novella written by Charles Dickens. The plot was divided into 5 staves (Song Stanzas) rather than chapters to keep it more with the title.

Stave 1 begins with the Christmas’s eve. But there was no spirit or the happy vibes at the heart of our protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge.

He sits there looking over his accounting book. His nephew, Fred, visits him greeting “Merry Christmas” but all that Scrooge had to return him was the remark “Bah! hambag”.

He also treats his worker, Bob Cratchit low on his salary. Besides, he turns down the people who comes in seeking a measure of help for the poor and homeless. He turns them all down with harshness and rudeness.

Intolearance towards all these makes him come in contact with his old dead friend Jack Marley subconsciously and his advice to be kind and to change his ways.

He also warns him about the call on of 3 more ghosts that are yet to visit him.

Stave 2 begins with Scrooge meeting up the “Ghost of the past”. It takes Scrooge on a tour over the shadows of his past life.

He was given a witness to his younger self where he was left all alone quietly reading at the corner of his home.

The sight makes Scrooge to give the remark “Poor boy!” to his own younger self.

He was then transported to experience his memories with his sister, Fan and how she rejoiced over concealing the rift between her brother, Scrooge and her father on one Christmas Eve.

Next scene was about the Christmas eve he spent with his old master Fezziwig and his family and along with his fellow apprentice Dick dancing and laughing. The happiness at the heart of young Scrooge was beyond bounds.

Next it was about how he parted with his first girl because of all his mean nature. She gave up all to his selfish decision despite the pain it caused to her heart. And the scene opens at where she and her then husband speaking and recalling about Scrooge on a Christmas eve.

It was all too much for his cold her. For the bitterness and coldness have all been taken and washed away through the tears he wept over the Christmases of his Past.

Stave 3 begins with Scrooge waking prepared to see the next Ghost. The “Ghost of the present” takes him on a tour to Mr. Cratchits’ home where the poor family – Bob Cratchit, his wife, their children – Martha, Belinda, Peter, Tiny Tim and 2 other younger Cratchits were all in full bustle for celebrating the Christmas eve.

Tiny Tim bore a little crutch and his limbs were supported by an iron frame.

Though poor, their four-roomed house was blessed none the less.

The family feasted over turkey and pudding with delight beyond measure and it was indeed a Merry Christmas to them all.

Scrooge was concerned over Tiny Tim and was anguished nothing ever should happen to distress the happy hearts of this family altogether.

Next, the Ghost of Present took Scrooge to a place where Miners live.

An old, old man and woman, with their children and their children’s children, and another generation beyond that, all decked out gaily in their holiday attire. The old man, in a voice that seldom rose was singing them a Christmas song and the children joined him happily in chorus.

The Spirit did not tarry here, but bade Scrooge hold his robe, and, passing on above the moor, sped towards sea.

Among the rising waves of the heaving sea was a struggling ship where the people on board hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas-day, with homeward hopes belonging to it.

It was a great surprise to Scrooge, while listening to the moaning of the wind, moving through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss, whose depths were secrets as profound as death to be engaged in such a hearty laugh.

It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognise it as his own nephew’s laugh one among many.

Fred was speaking about Scrooge with his family members. He felt truly sorry for Scrooge and that he couldn’t be angry with his uncle even if tried. Fred decided to give his uncle same chances every year whether he likes it or not and to have him visit him someday and that was all what Christmases were about.

All the things that Ghost had shown him came upon his mind and he softened more and more.

Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end.

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not.

Stave 4 begins with the last stroke of bell having ceased to vibrate and he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and, lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come”.

The Spirit and Scrooge advanced to listen to talk of the knot of businessmen nearby.

“No,” said a great fat man with a monstrous chin, “I don’t know much about it either way. I only know he’s dead.”

“When did he die?” inquired another.

“Last night, I believe.”

“Why, what was the matter with him?” asked a third.

“God knows,” said the first with a yawn.

“It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral,” said the same speaker; “for, upon my life, I don’t know of anybody to go to it. Suppose we make up a party, and volunteer?”

“I don’t mind going if I’m provided a lunch”, returned one.

Ghost’s province was the Future. Scrooge was puzzled as whose death it was.

It was indeed his own demise where all his possessions in his store where gambled and traded by the strangers. None nearer in heart to him attended his funeral.

This disturbed Scrooge agitated began saying to Ghost, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

The ghost disappeared without a word and as he woke up he had a complete change in his heart.

Stave 5 is all about how Scrooge was so happy to be alive and also for having a chance to a changed living. Kindness seethed and overflowed from within that he radiated all around to everyone.

He donated things to homeless and poor; dined with Fred, his nephew, niece and the entire family – played games and had fun; called Bob Cratchit and raised his salary and assisted his struggling family beyond measure.

The story seems to be somewhat prolonged. That made it boring at places and the diction could have made simpler.

I will rate it 3.7 out of 5.

It presses a simpler yet a needed message. Hope people should listen before the time passes out.

The Christmas is all about celebrating the day with fervidness of a child with the family and friends whatever the circumstances as it has been quoted in the novella, “The Spirit stood beside sick-beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich.”

May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

Just remember as Scrooge promises himself,“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

Merry Christmas And A Very Happy New Year ☺☺☺

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