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Updated: December 23, 2013 19:27 IST

Spirit of Christmas

BINCY MATHEW
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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a must read for this festive season. A mix of laughter and wit, ghosts and more from the master storyteller

Scrooge is a cruel being. The mere mention of his name or his appearance makes people squirm. People not acquainted with his temperament retract in fear after meeting him. Such is the case with the “two portly gentlemen” who turn up at Scrooge’s home during Christmas seeking charity.

The spirit of Christmas

To Scrooge, Christmas only means another day in the calendar year. “Bah! Humbug”, he says in reply to Christmas greetings. His nephew, whose Christmas invitation he has turned down, the carol-singer and even his poor old clerk Bob Cratchit are subject to his vile humour. He expects Cratchit, who survives the bitter cold at his desk with a fire so small that it looks like “one coal”, to work on Christmas day!

But are all men born this cruel? Or does time bend them in ways so that they can never find their way back? At the end of the day, Scrooge, on reaching home, sees a vision of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, on the knocker of his door. But Marley has been dead for seven years — “Dead as a doornail”.

This apparition weighed down with heavy chains represents the burden of all good things which were to be done but were neglected during its life. Marley warns Scrooge of an even worse fate and about the three ghosts that are to visit him.

The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his childhood days. Scrooge instantly identifies with the landscape, “recognising every gate, post and tree”. Here he is confronted with a younger and cheerful Ebenezer Scrooge interacting with his friends and the loving brother he used to be. Scrooge is gladdened to see his past, but is no sooner presented with brutal questions concerning his present life by the Ghost.

After this, the Ghost of the Christmas Present takes him to the Christmas celebrations at his nephew’s place. He enjoys seeing his relatives making merry, wishing he was amidst them.

The Ghost of Christmas Future takes Scrooge to his clerk’s home to show him the misery that has set upon this family following the death of Tiny Tim, Cratchit’s youngest child.

Will Scrooge be able to undo this future as foretold by this ghost?

A classic by Charles Dickens, this book will keep you gripped with the dire wit of Scrooge who is the perfect stereotype of meanness. It is not far from the truth that modern mean old characters are derived, at least in part, by Dickens’ Scrooge.

The author’s vivid descriptions of Scrooges’s past, present and future will enthral you. The descriptions keep you spell bound. So much so, it does not surprise you as to the course of action Scrooge will take.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens

The Preface:

I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant,

C. D.

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