It's time to read "A Christmas Carol", againDecember 22, 2014

“Come in, - come in! and know me better, man! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! You have never seen the like of me before!”

"A Christmas Carol" was met with instant success and critical acclaim after its first publication on December 19, 1843. The story would still resonate with readers.

Some critics wouldn't call this novella one of the best works of Charles Dickens. They would cite "Great Expectations", not forgetting Miss Havisham. The other fans would point "Oliver Twist". Who could forget "A Tale of Two Cities"? There would be a common thread, which was Dickens's sympathy towards the less-privileged class in London. This was where the author came from. Not a few couldn't figure out if he took a swipe at the Industrial Revolution. Maybe they won't have doubts after meeting Ebenezer Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug!

Ebenezer Scrooge would be one of Dickens's greatest creations. In fact, many would agree that he would linger long in the minds of those who read the book. Many adaptations of the novella would depict the old man as bitter and heartless, only to be gentle and kind after his meeting with the three ghosts. Little was known about Scrooge, whom some readers would point to an unhappy childhood. They may be right. But Dickens set his story during a cold winter night. Scrooge would be what that evening was all about. Miserliness and misanthropy. It would also be despair and sadness. (Those who disagree must go out on a snowy night and try to imagine.)

The transformation of Scrooge would reflect the changing of the season. This wouldn't mean that Christmas must be moved to spring time. (Those who wonder what Yuletide in summer must be like need to travel to the Southern Hemisphere.) Dickens tried to explore the origins of Christmas, and why it turned into a family happening. In fact, this aspect of the story would be the main reason why the novella would be very popular with the children.

"A Christmas Carol" would reveal why family was important. Not that Scrooge would realize the missed opportunities that would make him truly happy, but he figured out what was needed during those cold nights. A nice fire place. A "Merry Christmas!" to everyone. This was where the phrase originated, which would be adapted by other cultures. They didn't turn into a Dickens tribe, mind you. (Christmas is a Western concept.)

At the end of the story, images of children laughing and adults happy would make an imprint on the readers. Don't think long and hard for other themes. Dickens's message is loud and clear. The 25th of December is near.

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