INTRODUCTION: A Christmas Carol is one of my favorites of Dicken’s novels, but that doesn’t mean that it is perfect. In fact, quite the opposite, but still, this book has its charm and it is pretty much his most iconic novel ever made. Innumerable movies have been made from it, including my favorite, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. So, what can we say about this book 200 years later?
SYNOPSIS: a cranky old miser finds himself on Christmas Eve being visited by three ghost whom are there to get him to change his wicked ways.
PROSE: As much as I love this novel and others of Dickens, here he isn’t at peak form. He has one too asides, that while iconic, are just not needed. I refer to things such as “Marley was dead, to begin with.” This is one par with a “It was a dark and stormy night.” He shows a bit but relies too much on telling from some nonexistent narrator. He doesn’t tell us much about what the other characters look like, but Scrooge gets the most emphasis. I know we need to “hate” Scrooge, but he could have described the other characters better. Dickens was better than this, but his uneven prose here, especially for such an iconic book, is annoying.
DIALOGUE: Excellent! A hell of a lot of iconic lines.
CHARACTERS: The only really developed character is Scrooge. The rest are only kind of developed at the end of the book, during the hauntings. Scrooge is a fantastic character, though and a way writers should be building characters and something I like to do myself. Much like Bram Stoker, the dialogue reflects who the character is, his core being, if you read between the lines. Fred for instance is really a horrible character and worse than Scrooge could ever be. He hate people, but parades around like a mirthful little shit who loves people, but really he is fake as fuck. Scrooge may be a misanthrope, but with lines that suggest he thinks his workers are horrible and that Christmas is the one time they can stop acting as if they’re (upper class) are better than his workers and a few other horrible lines, suggesting he is no better than Scrooge, it really shows the subtlety that is in Fred’s character and that he is just pretending to be something he isn’t.
SUBTEXT: Most people put the subtext as Scrooge being an analogy for Dickens himself, but I disagree. I think the movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” nailed it as Scrooge being England and other cultures at the time whom had banned Christmas until about the mid 1800’s. I did notice though, that while it seems shallow of more subtext, the second ghost, seems to be an analogy for god himself. He even mentions that humans put blame on them, but I cannot recall a time period in history in which ghost were so senselessly victim blamed. Only the heavens seemed to get that. So perhaps there is more to these “ghost” than just gravy.
CONCLUSION: This book still shines in spite of its flaws, that it is almost like Scrooge himself, who, despite the flaws is redeemable and while I doubt that was Dicken’s intent, it still adds character to the novel. Still, there are stronger versions of this book and we never got it, but it is still a testament to Charles Dickens that even a weaker version is still so iconic. Personally, Scrooge is one of my favorite characters ever and I am glad this book gave birth to him and his iconic persona. Christmas truly is a bah humbug and even though Scrooge was eventually redeemed, someone had to mention it and while Scrooge has never put a dime in my pocket, I say, he has done us good and will do us good, so I say God bless him.
This book gets 4 out of 5 and isn’t a poor excuse for hogging up a man’s time every 25th of December.