A Christmas Carol is my most favourite Christmas story. Scrooge has been an interesting character for me not only because I liked him (not the miserly Scrooge but the generous one he slowly becomes) but because he was an icon of miserliness as well as generosity. From my first read, Ebeneezer Scrooge has always been a part of me. In my younger days, he was my model for miserliness. I used to call secretly those ungenerous people who were known to me by his name. I had such fun doing that. And believe me, I knew many Scrooges. 🙂
I have read this story many times since my childhood. It is my must-read for Christmas eve. I usually read it in one go, but this time I read it quite slowly. I really am glad that I took more time to indulge myself in it, for I feel that this time I understood Scrooge properly. True that he was a miserly cold man, but within that facade, there also lives a kind, compassionate, and benevolent man, a man frozen only to be thawed by the warm guidance of the Christmas spirits.
I also was able to pay more attention to the backdrop of the story this time. Being a social reformer, it was natural for Dickens to bring out to life a part of society that is deliberately hidden by Victorian social glamour. This is the poverty and struggle of the working class and their living conditions. I’ve heard that Dickens wrote this story to meet up his own expenses, but at the same time, he chose to write a story about the importance of giving and sharing, easing the suffering of the poor to some extent (as Scrooge did), leaving a powerful message behind him for the generations to ponder on. Writing this beautiful and touching story, and publishing it at Christmas time, Dickens certainly took pain to invoke the true Christmas spirit in all ignorant hearts.
What is more? I was able to appreciate the rich prose of Dicken which is somewhat overlooked by the beauty of the story and the powerful message that it conveys. With my slow pace, I was able to devour his rich prose with relish. Dicken’s writing is not the easiest to read; they sometimes tend to be overly heavy and verbose. But for me, I have always enjoyed the beauty and power of his words. It’s a key contributor to the enjoyment of his work apart from the story and the themes.
It’s true that I have read this countless times, and at different stages of my life. But what is amazing is that I never feel tired of rereading it. I don’t know what spell Dickens has cast over it, but A Christmas Carol is certainly a timeless classic.