Ebenezer Scrooge has grown to a bitter old man. His only true love in life is money, and he despises Christmas. On the seventh anniversary of his partner's death, Bob Marley, which also happens to be Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost. Marley is trapped in purgatory paying off his dues for living a life of bitterness and resentment. Scrooge is in disbelief but is then visited by three more ghosts throughout the night. As Scrooge is taken through the past, present, and future Christmases, we all learn what the true meaning of Christmas is through Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol is a novella, telling the events of one man's redemption. This timeless classic is a staple around the holidays and has survived a decade's worth of retellings and reimaginings. Personally, it is one of my favorite Christmas stories for its emotion, ability to transcend time, and of course, the supernatural elements.
The most interesting and probably my favorite aspect of A Christmas Carol is that it is rarely thought of as a ghost story since the whole plot is centered around Scrooge learning his lesson and finding the goodness in his heart with the help of four ghosts. Christmas isn’t even typically associated with ghosts, but it used to! Think of the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” There’s a lyric that goes; “There’ll be scary ghost stories,/And tales of the glories of/Christmases long, long ago.” December used to be associated with being the thinnest veil between the living and the dead, so it makes sense that Dickens would choose to write a ghost story centered around Christmas time. I also think the contrast between the supernatural elements and the cheeriness of Christmas is purposeful and just plain delightful.
Scrooge’s character arc is the most iconic redemption in classic literature. To watch/read about a cranky selfish man and learn about his past in an attempt to understand what caused him to be so cruel and then to witness him go back to his caring and loving nature that had been hiding inside him all along. It just warms the coldest of hearts especially since Dickens makes it clear that learning about Scrooge’s past doesn’t excuse his current behavior but, rather, is just used as examples of what happened, to prove to Ebenezer that there was once goodness in his heart, and to remind him that there is still time to change because it is the present that affects the future, not the past.
The language can be a little difficult to get past at times, especially for a modern audience, but overall the story is easy enough to follow and understand especially if you’ve seen a movie adaption or two. Because this tale is so timeless and heartwarming, I would recommend anyone to pick up A Christmas Carol this holiday season and for years to come.