Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas CarolCruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like... and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill.

Merry Christmas, my friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and spent lots of time with your loved ones. My family's Christmas celebration is always fun and I'm always happy to be surrounded by such great people on holidays. This year we toned everything down a bit, the food, the presents, and just enjoyed each other's company, and I'm glad to say that the day wasn't any worse for it!
When thinking about what to read over Christmas break I remembered that I've never read A Christmas Carol and decided that there couldn't be a better time than now to pick up a copy, especially since it's so easy to get carried away by all the "things" and forget about the true meaning of Christmas. It was difficult at first to adjust to the archaic writing style and strange sentence structure (sometimes whole paragraphs reminded me of Yoda) but by the time the second ghost made his appearance I had no trouble reading Dickens' English and enjoyed the pictures he painted with words.
It was interesting to see that although generations have passed some things never change - we worry about all the family members making it home in time for the celebration, we hope that there's enough food for everyone and that every dish turns out just right, and the hostess will always talk about the adventures that accompanied the cooking now that all is well and the guests have paid her many compliments. At the same time it was interesting to get to peek into the lives of Victorian Londoners. I didn't realize that the poor had to take their dinners out of their homes to be baked!
As I read the book I wondered whether Dickens wrote it for adults or children. The plot was much too simple and the mystery much too transparent for an adult reader but would be completely engrossing for a child, but the vocabulary he used appears to be more suited for an adult reader. It's understandable of course that some terminology that was widely used then has become outdated since his time but there are plenty of words that are still common today, just not so common as to be part of our regular speech. Do you by any chance know who was Dickens' intended audience?

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