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Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

1843

Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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  • Intro

    Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.

     

    The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is one of Charles Dickens’s most famous and enduring characters, and his story will be familiar to many, thanks to countless stage and screen adaptations. A Christmas Carol, first published on 17 December 1843, tells the story of Scrooge’s dramatic conversion from cold-hearted villain to generous benefactor, brought about by the visitation of a sequence of ghosts: the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, and the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former partner.

     

    The story is unashamedly sentimental, but its depiction of the contrasts between rich and poor and between miserliness and generosity draw on very real concerns about the nature of human society, and were undoubtedly influenced by Dickens’s own early experiences of poverty. Perhaps the novel’s greatest achievement is its portrayal of the causes and consequences of Scrooge’s loneliness, which enable him to become a complex and fully-realised character rather than a simple pantomime villain.

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