- Author – Charles Dickens
- Illustrator – John Leech
- Genre – Novella
- Date – 1843
A Christmas Carol revolves around an old miser named, Ebenezer Scrooge and how his heart and soul is transformed due to some supernatural intervention, in the form of visits by Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. Credit is due to Dicken’s for reigniting the interests in old Christmas traditions of England. The popularity of this novel can be gauged by the fact that it’s never been out of print and has led to several stage plays, animated movies and operas.
The character of Scrooge serves as a metaphor for winter. He is shown as a person devoid of emotions however just like winter is followed by the hope and warmth of spring, Scrooges turns a new leaf and rediscovers the selfless goodwill that he had seen and experienced during his childhood and youth.
It is well documented that Dickens shared a love hate relationship with his father and many view the ambivalent character of Scrooge as a portrayal of Dickens himself. Unlike a novel, the book consists of five chapters written as Staves or verses, just like the verses of a song or a carol. The first chapter deals mainly with the introduction of our central character and creating the scene of Christmas Eve. We are informed that his partner in business Marley has died seven years before and Scrooge is survived by a nephew, Fred. Old Scrooge is not too happy with Christmas and considers it humbug. He declines Fred’s invitation and reluctantly gives his aide, Bob Cratchit the day off.
The twist in the tale starts with the appearance of Marley’s spirit. He is shown bonded in chains and in great despair as a punishment for his selfish and ruthless behavior. He warns Scrooge that three more spirits will visit him and if doesn’t mend his ways, then he too might end like Marley. What follows is supernatural visits by Ghosts of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of the Christmas yet to come. Each one shows Scrooge visions from his life, his past, present and future. The next morning, Scrooge wakes up a changed man and decides to use the remainder of his life for betterment of the society.
The novel, though it is heart warming and full of life, it also shows the grim realities of life that we come across everyday however we choose to ignore them. Its greatest success lies in the fact that every now and then it has managed to change some Scrooge somewhere in the world.