Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reflections: A Christmas Carol

Adam C. Zern opines on Charles Dickens' classic short story:

"To say that Charles Dickens' story, A Christmas Carol, is well-known is wholly inadequate.  During the Christmas season, and sometimes during other seasons (think An American Carol), A Christmas Carol can feel ubiquitous.  I, like so many others, have seen several film versions of Dickens' famous tale.  The different versions can be incredibly varied; for example, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Scrooged are made for very different audiences.  After watching so many different adaptions, I was very curious to see how the original story held up and if it was worth all the attention it has received over the years.

In all honesty, I don't know if I have read an author who is as talented and adriot as Charles Dickens.  Although A Christmas Carol is very short, a short story really, it has Dickens' flair and powerful prose.  Brevity is perhaps the story's greatest strength.  In only a few paragraphs the read has a complete understanding of the level of Ebenezer's Scrooge's cynicism and bitterness.  The visiting spirits come in quick succession and each didactic episode is as instructive for the audience as it is for Scrooge.  There are several themes in the story that I think resonate strongly with readers - being given a second chance (redemption) is but one of them.  And perhaps that's the great secret of A Christmas Carol.

I did wonder if A Christmas Carol was possibly one of the first stories to use melodrama as a viable storytelling technique.  Regardless, I can't help but think that the semi-crippled, perfectly natured Tiny Tim is a character contrived to not only force an emotional reaction from Scrooge but also from the audience.  I couldn't help but wonder if A Christmas Carol were publised recently whether a modern, cynical audience might scoff at Tiny Tim instead of being endeared to him.  (Or perhaps that's just my own cynical self talking?).

Why is A Christmas Carol such a memorable tale?  Charles Dickens.  It certainly helps that the story shares a powerful message, but such a profound message needs to be told in a profound way.  No other author can do it quite like Charles Dickens.  It's an enjoyable and meaningful read."

1 comment:

  1. "A Tale of Two Cities" changed the way I thought about writing, the reason--Charles Dickens. Great stories, told brilliantly I miss that in modern literature. Thanks for the review and the reminder of what great literature should be about.