Famous novella by Charles Dickens about redemption. Equally educational for kids and grown-ups. Download A Christmas Carol, READ online FREE or buy:
- STAVE I. MARLEY’S GHOST
- STAVE TWO. THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS
- STAVE THREE. THE SECOND OF THE THREE SPIRITS
- STAVE FOUR. THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS
- STAVE FIVE. THE END OF IT
This is one of the greatest novellas in history, and some critics are calling it the best work by Dickens. It first saw the light of day back in 1843 in the UK (London, to be exact). Chapman & Hall was the original publishing house, and the masterpiece hit the shelves on December 19th.
A Christmas Carol Summary
The story follows the life of Mr. Scrooge, an old cheapskate, and a grumpy man. However, when the ghost of someone he used to know pays him a visit, along with a bunch of mysterious ghosts, he changes his ways. The wicked gentleman turns into a completely different person, a caring, gentle, kind individual.
The Background Of The Story
Dickens was struggling with finances in mid-1843. The sales were slow, and Catherine, the man’s wife, was ready to deliver their 5th child. Furthermore, his publishers announced that if the sales were to continue going down, they’d be forced to cut his income by 50 pounds.
Charles began to write his new novella in October and finished it in early December (it took him 6 weeks to finish it). He came up with the story and most of the events on his favorite walks around the city late at night.
The writer himself knew very well what it meant to be poor and this story was a message to the readers encouraging them to be more caring and sympathetic. When Charles was a 12-year-old boy, his father was sent to a prison.
The family used to be rich, but John, the man of the house, spent it all like a true spendthrift. So, the future writer had to adapt to a harsh new reality at a very young age. Without that experience, he might’ve never grown into the remarkable person that we know him as today.
Christmas Traditions As The Main Inspiration
Dickens started to work on this masterpiece when the good-old Christmas customs were extremely popular in the United Kingdom. Folks were fascinated by carols and the then-new treats like the now-regular Christmas trees. The writer was inspired and encouraged by the memories and experiences from his childhood years.
Plus, gripping tales from authors like Irving had a big impact on him. Before he focused fully on this novella, the legendary writer had already finished 3 Christmas-themed stories and was ready to write something entirely new after a visit to a school for poor street kids.
The Main A Christmas Carol Themes
Reaching out and helping the poor, lending them a helping hand is one of the main themes of this epic novella. The ability of a self-centered, greedy and avaricious person to redeem his soul by changing into a caring, sympathetic human being is the second key theme of this tale.
To this date, professors and fans still argue whether it was written as a 100% nonreligious story or if Dickens wanted it to be a religious allegory. For example, Moore, a scholar of the writer, claims that the Christian bias should be recognized. Therefore, the novella should be explained as an allegory of redemption.
Diving Deep Into A Human Being’s Soul
It’s never too late to confess and become a man of God again, even for the biggest sinners. That’s what the message is all about, and Mr. Scrooge’s conversion is a strong indication that Dickens was inspired by this message. It’s a known fact that the writer was fascinated by Christianity and many of its principals.
Scrooge’s transformation into a better human being is an essential part of this story. He managed to leave his sins behind and turn into someone capable of compassion and strong emotions. His only regret was that he left numerous opportunities behind.
Altruism, charity and working together towards the greater good are a big part of the so-called “Carol philosophy”. Dickens wrote this book after he learned about the way the UK society and government treated the little ones. He hoped that this book would help him share his vision it with the whole world.
Public Readings By Charles Dickens
As mentioned above, this iconic best seller hit the shelves on December 19th, but it was sold out by the end of ’43 (there were 6K copies in total). The novella was available at 5 shillings, which equals £22 today). And by the end of the next year, as much as 13 new editions saw the light of day. The story received mainly positive reviews.
In Jan 1844, the book was copied without Dickens’s permission; the author sued the publisher, but they went bankrupt, which meant only one thing for the writer – less money in his pocket. Dickens wanted the book to look and feel “expensive” in one’s hands, and the unreasonably high production rates took its toll. The 1st edition brought the man 230 pounds (that’s 20K pounds today).
A year later, he made another 744 pounds, and the result was both frustrating and disappointing for the author. Thankfully, after he decided to write 4 new Christmas tales, public readings proved to be very popular. The man had been reading A Christmas Carol up until his passing in 1870.
Still Relevant After 170+ Years
Since its 1st publication, this now-legendary story has always been in high demand. Translated into numerous international languages, it’s still very popular (and not only among children). As far as the most influential and thought-provoking books go, A Christmas Carol is a monumental novella. To this day, the marvelous mix of humor, memorable characters, and great dialogues is capable of making you fall in love with it.
The book is full of heart and hope for humanity. The critics are calling it a story that will make the readers both laugh and cry while educating us on the very essence of the Christian concept of true redemption. William Thackeray had only good things to say about Dickens and his immortal tale calling it a “personal kindness”.
At first, Dickens’s grandiose tale was only popular in England. Then in Europe. The American readers fell in love with it after the Civil War. The NY Times praised it for bringing the old traditions of Christmas back into the homes of the poor.
Theatrical And Big-Screen Adaptations
Thanks to its enormous success and the great critical response, the masterwork was turned into a theatrical performance a year after it hit the shelves. On February 5, 1844, 3productions opened. Dickens gave his blessings to the one by Stirling.
It was well-received and ran for 40+ nights. By the end of the month, as much as 8 theatrical plays were available in the capital of the UK. There are numerous operas, ballets, musicals, and even radio programs based on this iconic tale.
A Christmas Carol Movie
This book was turned into a film and a TV show more times than any other of the writer’s works. The first movie adaptation was released in 1901. It was a silent film directed by Mr. Paul.
Nine years later, Mark McDermott performed the role of Scrooge in a new film adaptation. It was also a silent movie and has a special charm for the modern-day audience. The most popular silent adaptation came out in 1913.
In 1935, they turned it into the first talking version of the classic tale. The movie cast included the gifted Sir Seymour Hicks as the lead actor. To this day, it’s considered to be one of the best A Christmas Carol movies.
Overall, there are twenty movie adaptations. The 1951 film called Scrooge is known as THE best adaptation ever made. Alastair Sim did a splendid job portraying the main character. The most noticeable animated film hit the theaters in 2009. Jim Carrey played the lead role; Zemeckis directed it.
At the end of the day, you can’t overrate A Christmas Carol, simply because it’s one of the most important novellas ever written. Dickens managed to create a masterpiece that still touches the heart and minds of countless people and shows them the road to redemption. The phrase “Merry Christmas” became popular after this book was published, and that fact alone proves that this is a monumental story.
Authors like Dickens change the way we think and perceive the world around us. They inspire us to be better and to do more. And that’s what makes their legacy immortal. People will always be fascinated by true masterpieces because they touch the most sensitive strings of our souls.