This marvelous work by Charles Dickens is a well-known story. Most of us can recount the tale of Scrooge, the Christmas grump; Tiny Tim and his hopeful spirit; the three ghosts who help Scrooge to have a change of heart. With all the film retellings and various play productions, it is difficult for us to not know this story.
But how many of us have ever read A Christmas Carol? I only read it for the first time three years ago.
Let me tell you, reading the book does not even compare to any movie version you can find. And there are many excellent renditions on film. I prefer the Muppets’ version.
The reason the book is so much better–besides that books are usually far better than any movie reproduction–is the language Dickens uses. I am aware of no other writer who has formed phrases as eloquent and lovely as his. The other night I was reading Stave I of A Christmas Carol aloud and had to pause multiple times just to absorb the beauty of what I had just read.
I know of no movie version that includes the paragraph long musing on how a doornail can be dead. One of my favorite lines (and I must admit, this is included in the Muppets version, but it is so much nicer to read) is, “Oh! But he was tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” And a description of the cold scene surrounding Scrooge’s counting house, “The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed.”
There are about a million other sentences that are simply amazing. Please, make a Christmas resolution to read A Christmas Carol before, or on, Christmas. It really isn’t long, so it is a very doable goal.