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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: A Timely Post

A Christmas Carol by Dickens is ridiculously famous, has seeped into our collective cultural consciousness, and is one in a list of things that keeps us emotionally tied to England (along with Hugh Grant and the Spice Girls). It's also CRAZY GOOD.

Everyone has their own sacrosanct version of A Christmas Carol. My family is not about Muppets at all (sure. yell at me in comments. because no one eeeever has before), so we watched Mickey's Christmas Carol. It is SO GREAT, although Goofy as Jacob Marley is legit terrifying, do not even second guess me on this, my siblings will bear me out.


In my quest to read all of Dickens's works, I thought I better have another look at Christmas Carol, as the latest I would've read it, if I ever DID, was 1999. And that was awhile ago.

This awhile ago. (x)

Dickens in a shortened form is maybe Dickens at his best. I hesitate because there's a certain reward in sticking with his longer books, as you get attached to characters more and more, and then have an emotional pay-off. But with distilled Dickens, you get all his best bits of writing in a brief space. I wish he'd done more short stories, but they probably weren't as reliable an income source, so here we are.

Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol. It's maybe one of the most famous stories in our culture. If you don't know it, that is okay do not feel left out, just go to YouTube and search it. So many good adaptations. So many. (but again, Mickey's is absolutely the best and everyone else's favorite is wrong) 

What're some of the more famous lines that Dickens just dashed down one day?

"[E]very idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart." 
"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." 
"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" 
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard" 
"God bless us every one!" 
"I see a vacant seat," replied the Ghost, "in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved." 
"Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?" 
"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge.
"To-day!" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."
"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it." 
He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew

So there's all that. Mostly dialogue, obviously, because that's what we get in stage productions. But the actual story, no matter how many times you've seen it acted out in whichever form you fancy, is completely worth reading. Dickens's sense of humor shines, and you get to yell at him whenever he gets too male-gaze about ladies. (my Kindle notes for whenever that happens always quote the second GIF:)

But! Aside from the times Dickens is all "I should have dearly liked, I own, to have touched her lips" and "Altogether she was what you would have called provoking, you know; but satisfactory, too. Oh, perfectly satisfactory," which he says WHILE SPEAKING AS THE NARRATOR, he also writes awesome, hilarious things. 

The very beginning! When he says Marley was dead as a door-nail, he goes on this fanciful romp of an aside:
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Look at you, Dickens! 

What other author would describe someone as "solitary as an oyster"? I mean, good lord. That man's brilliant, brilliant, sexist, male-gazey brain. 

He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there.
“Your welfare!” said the Ghost.
Scrooge expressed himself much obliged, but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end.
A Christmas Carol is probably the most culturally influential novella ever. Probably? What're we thinking about Candide? I feel like that one can't compete at all. 

You should read it. Or re-read it. And if you read it in May, you will still totally (maybe) cry about Tiny Tim, even though you know it's manipulative and Victorian levels of sentimental. 

Dickens. So sexist. But so good.


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