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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol (original 1843; edition 2003)

by Charles Dickens

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13,395305163 (4.06)3 / 1061
The only Dickens I've ever read. This story has become part of our cultural lexicon much more than most other classics, but reading the original version gave me a better insight into the moral and messages, beyond the top layer that everyone knows about. I think this book better encapsulates what should be "the Christmas spirit" than any holiday special will ever be able to do. Familiar, comforting, and moving... and excellently narrated by Jim Dale, who was flawless as always. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Dec 8, 2006 |
English (292)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Japanese (1)  French (1)  All languages (305)
Showing 1-25 of 292 (next | show all)
A Christmas Carol is a timeless story about a man who is far removed from the Christmas spirit. He swindles people out of their money daily and will have to answer for it if he does not change his ways. He is visited by three ghosts that will cause him to change his ways. He sees his past, present, and future and decides to get into the Christmas spirit.

This story is timeless as a movie and a book. Every Christmas my family watches the movie. I believe that this poetry was written to show what the Christmas spirit is about. I personally love the spirit of Christmas and what it stands for.

Classroom Extension 1: I would ask the students to journal about what Christmas means to them and draw a picture that corresponds.

Classroom Extension 2: As a class we would discuss the pros and cons of the main character. We would make a chart on the board to show the data we had formed. ( )
  AngieOliviaDodd | Apr 17, 2016 |
try to read it every year - short and sweet !
  frahealee | Apr 3, 2016 |
I've seen the movie and heard the story in so many forms and variations that it's hard to just the work for itself. ( )
  LaPhenix | Mar 18, 2016 |
Muppet version is somewhat superior. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Christmas Eve, seven years to the day after the death of his business partner Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge and his downtrodden clerk Bob Cratchit are at work in Scrooge’s counting-house. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, arrives with seasonal greetings and an invitation to Christmas dinner, but Scrooge dismisses him with "Bah! Humbug!", declaring that Christmas is a fraud. Two gentlemen collecting charitable donations for the poor are likewise rebuffed by Scrooge, who insists that the poor laws and workhouses are sufficient to care for the poor, and that "If they would rather die than go there, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." As he and his clerk prepare to leave, he grudgingly permits Cratchit one day's paid holiday the following day, but tells Cratchit he must be there the morning after Christmas all the earlier—otherwise, there will be a deduction from his wages.

Scrooge returns home to his cheerless rooms, and a series of supernatural experiences begins. His doorknocker appears to transform into Marley's face; a "locomotive hearse" seems to mount the dark stairs ahead of him. Finally, all the bells in the house ring loudly, there is a clanking of chains ascending the stairs, and the ghost of Marley passes through the closed door into the room.

The ghost warns Scrooge that if he does not change his ways, he will suffer Marley's fate, but Scrooge's fate would be even worse. He will walk the earth eternally after death, invisible among his fellow men, burdened with chains, seeing the misery and suffering he could have alleviated in his life but now powerless to intervene. Marley has arranged Scrooge's only chance of redemption: three spirits will visit him on successive nights, and they may help change him and save him from his fate. As Marley leaves, Scrooge gets a nightmare glimpse of the tormented spectres who drift unseen among the living, and now exhausted, he falls into bed.

[edit] Stave II: The First of the Three Spirits

Scrooge attempts to extinguish the Ghost of Christmas Past.Scrooge awakens to hear the tolling of the twelfth hour which he finds confusing being certain he was up until past two. Scrooge briefly considers the possibility that he has slept nearly a day or that he has awakened at noon to a world without a sun. After an hour of foreboding terror for Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange mixture of young and old, male and female, with a light shining from the crown of its head, appears at the stroke of one. It leads Scrooge on a journey to some of his past Christmases, where events shaped his life and character. He sees his late sister Fan, who intervened to rescue him from lonely exile at boarding school, and, recalling his recent treatment of Fan's son Fred, Scrooge feels the first stirrings of regret. They revisit a merry Christmas party given by Fezziwig, Scrooge's kind apprentice-master, and Scrooge thinks guiltily of his own behaviour toward Bob Cratchit. Finally, he is reminded how his love of money lost him the love of his life, Belle, and the happiness this cost him. Furious, Scrooge turns on the spirit and tries to snuff it like a candle with its cap, only to find himself in his own bed, struggling only with a bedpost. Exhausted and confused, he falls almost immediately asleep. Then he hears many noises that wakes him up out of a sound sleep.

[edit] Stave III: The Second of the Three Spirits

The Ghost of Christmas Present with Ebenezer Scrooge.Scrooge wakes again at the stroke of one, confused to find it is still night and by the peculiar passage of time. After a time, he rises and finds the second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, in an adjoining room, on a throne made of Christmas food and drink. This spirit, a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur, takes him through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace. They observe the meagre but happy Christmas celebrations of the Cratchit family and the sweet nature of their "forgotten" son Tiny Tim, and when the Spirit foretells an early death for the child if things remain unchanged, Scrooge is distraught and wishes to change the future. He is shown what others think of him: the Cratchits toast him, but reluctantly, and "a shadow was cast over the party for a full five minutes." Scrooge's nephew and his wife, Clara, and Friends gently mock his miserly behaviour at their Christmas party, but Fred maintains his uncle's potential for change, and Scrooge demonstrates a childlike enjoyment of the celebrations.

They travel far and wide, and see how even the most wretched of people mark Christmas in some way, whatever their circumstances. The Ghost, however, grows visibly older, and explains he must die that night. He shows Scrooge two pitiful children huddled under his robes who personify the major causes of suffering in the world, "Ignorance" and "Want," with a grim warning that the former is especially harmful. At the end of the visitation, the bell strikes twelve. The Ghost of Christmas Present vanishes and the third spirit appears to Scrooge.

[edit] Stave IV: The Last of the Spirits

Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes the form of a grim spectre, robed in black, who does not speak and whose body is entirely hidden except for one pointing hand. This spirit frightens Scrooge more than the others, and harrows him with a vision of a future Christmas with the Cratchit family bereft of Tiny Tim. A rich miser, whose death saddens nobody and whose home and corpse have been robbed by ghoulish attendants, is revealed to be Scrooge himself: this is the fate that awaits him. Without its explicitly being said, Scrooge learns that he can avoid the future he has been shown and alter the fate of Tiny Tim, but only if he changes. Weeping, he swears to do so, and awakes to find that all three spirits have visited in just one night, and that it is Christmas morning.

[edit] Stave V: The End of It

Scrooge and Bob Cratchit reconciled in Stave V.Scrooge changes his life and reverts to the generous, kindhearted soul he was in his youth before the death of Fan. He anonymously sends the Cratchits the biggest turkey in the butcher shop, meets the charity workers to pledge an unspecified but impressive amount of money, and spends Christmas Day with Fred and his wife.

The next day, Scrooge sees his clerk arriving late and pretends to be his old miserly self before revealing his new person to an astonished Cratchit. He assists Bob and his family, becomes an adopted uncle to Tiny Tim, and gains a reputation as a kind and generous man who embodies the spirit of Christmas in his life.

( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
A classic christmas story that has become an icon for the holidays. Read as part of the edX BerkeleyX Book Club, I found a number of new and interesting tidbits as I read through again. For example, an essay written for the Book Club:

"I started with a generalized image search on Dogpile for "the ghosts of A Christmas Carol". I received a number of interesting results including a set of toys from one of the Disney versions.(http://www.infinitehollywood.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DSCN9995.jpg) As I began a second search using my favorite remaking of the story, Bill Murray's Scrooged, I began to notice an interesting trend - the Spirits of Christmas Past and Present often had a smile on their faces while the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come either wore a scowl or no expression at all (due to the face being hidden by a cowl - the spelling of that alone is interesting, showing a similarity in scowl and cowl - the difference being only a single letter).
Why is this? I believe that it may have to do with the uncertainty of the future, and the fear of loss that the story hints at. Scrooge is miserly because he is afraid to loose the money he has made and earned. He is afraid of lost time - his clerk not working on Christmas Day, and having to make up for it by coming in early on Boxing Day. The loss of Tiny Tim, as well as the loss of Scrooge's partner Marley, and the sorrow and mourning it brings to his family is prevalent in Scrooge's mind, as well as the emotions that the boy brings to all readers. Uncertainty is something that cannot be prepared for, and Scrooge begs the Spirit "Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?" It is this fear of the unknown that clutches Scrooge as he tries to come to terms with his own fate.
In many of the instances the Spirits each showed an additional element. The Spirit of Christmas Past - whether portrayed as male, female, young, old, or not even human, was also the Spirit of Purity. The bright light, white garments, and even the cocky, playful nature of Murray's Christmas Past symbolize Purity and Innocence lost. I think that artists of all kinds try to encapsulate this into the Spirit of Christmas Past. (I wish I could add more photos below, but here is a good collection - http://mansfieldseastroom.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/the-ghost-of-christmas-pas...)
The Spirit of Christmas Present displays Plenty and Mirth, even as it hides Ignorance and Want. If Ignorance is Bliss, as the old saying goes, then this is well portrayed in the Spirit of the Present. It is no accident that Christmas Present (the Spirit) and Christmas Presents (the gifts) as so similar in sound. The image of this Spirit are often shown, wrapped (like a gift) in a robe or gown and hiding their contents (in the case of the Spirit, the two children), while the Spirit smiles and shares freely. As we seen with old Fezziwig, sharing does not need to cost a fortune to bring about plenty. To believe such feeds Ignorance, and later Want."

There are a number of other things that make revisiting this old tale new again. If it's been a while for you, I recommend reading it again.

Many of the images I found seemed to show these elements of the Spirits without much beyond superficial variations (such as gender and age). This is because the meaning has been so ingrained into our memories that it is the essence that shines through, regardless of the packaging. This, as mentioned before, can be reduced to the expression the artist gives to the face of the individual Spirit of the season, and the faces that we in turn share with those around us. ( )
  Ermina | Feb 25, 2016 |
What a wonderful novel!

It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly man who has a very bad personality. He is rude, cold, cruel, uncaring, cynical, overly-frugal, and downright unloving. He lives alone, and that's not a surprise. He has no wife, daughter or son. We only know one relative of his in the story -- Fred, his nephew. He has his own business, employs a clerk, Bob, and we may suppose that he is quite rich, but he is very stingy with his money. He is mean to everyone -- even to his own nephew, and especially to his clerk.

Then, on Christmas eve, his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who died seven years earlier, appears to him in his house. He warns him that three spirits will appear to him soon, and that they have important messages to impart to him. The three spirits are the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. They each accompany Scrooge to several scenes in his life -- from the past, present and future -- and along the way, he undergoes a radical self-transformation.

It's a beautiful story: simple yet moving. It reminded me about what is really important in life -- people, to always show kindness and compassion towards them. ( )
  AlexisLovesBooks | Feb 9, 2016 |
I feel like I'm being overly sensational in saying this, but this book is a masterpiece. Never mind the rest of Charles Dickens' contributions to society—this story is the most far-reaching. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 3, 2016 |
Muppet version is somewhat superior. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Muppet version is somewhat superior. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
A timeless classic, especially around Christmas time. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, I believe is well known to all. It is funny to me, however, that we choose to remember Ebenezer as the former, stingy, selfish individual instead of the man he had been transformed into by his experience. This book has taught me to look at things a bit differently. Now, I look upon Ebenezer as the man who always kept Christmas well in his heart all year long instead of the old decrepid man who hated Christmas.

I gave this book 8 stars only for the fact that I feel we are losing something in translation. The language of the book is eloquent. However, I felt that there were phrases listed that meant something in the old English that have lost their translation today.

The positives about this book is that the story is timeless, creative and world reknown. Charles Dickens obviously meant this story to be told to future generations because in his writing, you are taken back in time to old world England. His descriptions of the surroundings and the characters are vivid. It truly was a pleasure to read this story.

If you have the time to sit down with this classic, I highly recommend it. Better yet, read it to your kids if applicable, they will love it!

Flyinfox ( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
I love A Christmas Carol. I've read it over and over. It is one of those stories that I will never grow tired of. ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
review A Christmas Carol is remarkably shorter than I would have guessed and had I known, I would have fit it in earlier. The story is an incredible journey of transformation of heart, all within a couple of hours read. Lovely!
( )
  StephLaymon | Jan 26, 2016 |
This book actually frightened me as a kid, I think I was about 11 when I read it. ( )
  AngelaGustafson | Jan 25, 2016 |
First time I've actually read the story. Well worth it, if only for those little details the movies might miss...And replete with messages for the current debt crisis :-) ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Delightful as well as thought-provoking; everything I hoped it would be. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
A Christmas Carol is the classic Christmas story of the redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Scrooge is a stingy man with no family or friends. The ghost of his deceased partner appears to him and warns him that he must change his ways or suffer for eternity. To assist the change, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him images from Christmas past, present, and future. I have seen so many movie adapations of the novel that the story felt like a reread. It is a heartwarming story and a bit idealist, that a man like Scrooge could be moved to change his ways overnight and that by doing so all of his past sins may be forgiven. I enjoyed reading the novel and would like to pick up more Dickens in the future. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 17, 2016 |
One of my absolute favourite books (and films, come to that!). I read it every Christmas. ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
This must be the Classic Christmas Ghost Story.

Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by 4 ghosts on Christmas Eve who help show him the error of his ways.

A short story by Dickens standards, its a great heart warming tale of redemption.

( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
I already knew the basics of the story from seeing several movie versions. I found the ending a little too light and the transformation a bit silly in the book. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. Poor Mr. Scrooge so unhappy and not realizing it until the three spirits show him. I love Scrooge’s nephew. He made me smile during Scrooge’s visit with the spirit of Christmas present. I kept comparing the book to movie versions I’ve seen and actually like the book better. I liked that Scrooge learned to keep the Christmas spirit year round. ( )
  i.should.b.reading | Jan 15, 2016 |
A Christmas Carol is the classic Christmas story of the redemption of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Scrooge is a stingy man with no family or friends. The ghost of his deceased partner appears to him and warns him that he must change his ways or suffer for eternity. To assist the change, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him images from Christmas past, present, and future. I have seen so many movie adapations of the novel that the story felt like a reread. It is a heartwarming story and a bit idealist, that a man like Scrooge could be moved to change his ways overnight and that by doing so all of his past sins may be forgiven. I enjoyed reading the novel and would like to pick up more Dickens in the future. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
Most adaptations you've seen are probably true to the book. They largely have been in my case. It's still worth a read. At the very least, you'll read a section of the story that has (as far as I can tell) never been adapted into any film or made-for-TV special. You know how Scrooge sees Belle walk out of his life? Well, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him more still! ( )
  Michael_Rose | Jan 10, 2016 |
I knew the story, but this was my first reading of the novel. Although sometimes overly wordy (as is with Dickens), the descriptions and overall story are great (again, as is with Dickens). A quick and enjoyable read.

I read this in an ebook format and liked to quickly jump to the footnotes to get a better sense of the time or meaning. ( )
  kparr | Dec 31, 2015 |
A Christmas Carol is Decembers book club choice so ive left it to read over the Christmas period. However also over Christmas on the tv there has been several versions of the classic, from Alistar Simm to The Muppets. My husband I think has watched every one.

So sitting down to read the book I felt I had already read it.

I have read Charles Dickens twice before and both times have enjoyed but found hard going. This book I found easier. The story is timeless and is the Christmas story that everyone knows.

The book is sure to bring out the Christmas spirit when read. I give the story five stars quite easily, I just wished I could have read it before the many versions on tv appeared. ( )
  tina1969 | Dec 26, 2015 |
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