A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol, also known by its full title, A Christmas Carol In Prose; Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, is a novella written by Charles Dickens and first published on 1843-12-19. The story is about Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser of an old man, who is hard on his workers and cares nothing for the less-fortunate, but is visited by three spirits who teach him the value of caring for others, especially on Christmas.
I never actually read this story in its original form until 2019, but I remember watching and listening to various adaptions in the late-1980s. Although I like the theme of redemption, I think the original work is a bit dull, but some of the adaptions are quite enjoyable.
This story is in the public domain. I do not own a physical copy, but I have listened to an audio book recording, and seen and heard several adaptions.
- I like the intermixing of ghosts and Christmas. Although it was commonplace at the time, ghosts have since been regulated to Halloween, so now the story has the benefit of being pleasantly kitschy and tacky.
- Dickens is often too wordy. His description of the Cratchit's Christmas goose and pudding goes on and on. He also has several scenes, like those of the miners and sailors, which are not very important to the story and should have been excluded. Because of this, I tend to prefer the abridged adaptions.
- Dickens doesn't really explain why Scrooge--who had childhood friends, a caring boss, and a pleasant fiancée--became a miser in his adulthood. Yes, his father sent him off to a boarding school, but it is inferred that their relationship was mended, so why did Scrooge become so wretched? This makes the character less relatable because people don't usually become evil without a reason.
- The story has a lot of superfluous descriptions. People are described as the most pleasant person in all the world, and things of that nature. I doubt London is paramount of human traits like Dickens describes.
- The moral is pretty ham-fisted: if you aren't a nice person, nobody will care about you when you're dead. While this may resonate with people who care about their image, I don't see this being that effective at rehabilitating misanthropes because they generally don't care what others think of them.
- Dickens, like most men of his time, is pretty sexist. He describes women as being delicate and childish.
- The ending is pretty dull. The adaptions frequently have scrooge having a dialogue with his nephew and the Cratchit's, describing precisely how he's going to reform himself by helping them, Tiny Tim especially, but the book relegates most of this to narration.
- While I certainly give the story props for entering the zeitgeist, I didn't really find the story all that interesting.
|197?-??-??||Audio Drama||Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol||An audio drama was produced by Peter Pan Records. I listened to this as a child. I remember enjoying it, but I haven't heard it since, and, as far as I know, it has never been digitized.|
|1983-12-16||TV show||Mickey's Christmas Carol||An animated version with all the characters replaced by Disney characters. I really enjoy this adaption.|
|1988-11-23||Film||Scrooged||A very funny movie starring Bill Murray and loosely based on the story.|
|1990-12-22||Radio drama||A Christmas Carol||BBC Radio 4 produced a dramatic cast recording dramatized by Christopher Dennis. It's well produced, has a good cast, chorus, and nice sound effects, though, some of the acting is a little over-the-top.|