Skip to main content

The Christmas Carol

The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (original 1843 illustrations)

Every Christmas season the same carols are sung and the usually stories are told, especially those surrounding the nativity story.  Yet, as many people hearken back to a time before, some stories retain their never ending power.  Such a story as The Christmas Carol, by the brilliant English writer Charles Dickens, is just one of those enduring stories.  Paraclete Press has done a wonderful job in reprinting this story with the original 1843 illustrations that came with the original printing.  

Why does this story stretch through the decades while remaining such an important work?  For one, Dickens paints the portrait of Ebeneezer Scrooge as a dour soul who is hell-bent on profit and weary of any kindness as man easily identifiable (in a most universal way).  Early in the story, Scrooge brings to the foreground characteristics of a such a man.  Dickens writes, "Oh!  But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge!  a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!" (10).  The description of Scrooge as a covetous man clutching at every profit and looking in no direction at his fellow man is part of the beauty of Scrooge's character.  Just as Dickens describes London in such a crude way in his other work, the emblematic portrait of Scrooge as a old and greedy codger is seen here.

Secondly, the way that Dickens brings out the character of Bob Cratchit and the whole family Cratchit family brims with much literary force.  He writes, "Oh, a wonderful pudding!  Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchit since their marriage." (75  Dickens brings together themes of humility and simplicity here that catches Scrooge off guard, because although they had little (the Cratchits), they were fully thankful and blessed by the fact that they had each other, and certainly enough food.

The spirits that come to meet Scrooge are some of the greatest elements in the whole story of The Christmas Carol.  In turn, we see Scrooge not so much as a unique greedy soul, but as one who gets caught up in the sinful behaviors of someone set out on the right track and little by little going wayward.

Thanks to Paraclete Press for the copy of this wonderful book.!


Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…