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12-13-2020 - Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

None of us can forget poor Tiny Tim Cratchit from Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.” He's an enduring character to come out of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella "A Christmas Carol." He wears leg braces and uses a crutch. And if Ebenezer Scrooge doesn't change his miserly ways, he will surely die of his ailment. Tiny Tim's fate is linked very closely to Scrooge's fate.

The abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit has come to symbolize poor working conditions, especially long working hours. Scrooge begrudges having to pay Bob for one day off a year, Christmas Day. Bob is thankful enough to be grateful to his boss. Bob's refusal to be unkind reflects the Christmas spirit that the Ghost of Christmas Present has sprinkled liberally on his poor home.

Ebenezer is a product of life experiences. He spent most of his childhood in boarding school. He was often isolated and forgotten by his family. He felt and still believes that his father did not care much for him. He states the only relative that paid much attention to him was his sister, Fan. She was the mother of his nephew Fred, and is now deceased. Mr. Scrooge states that he had few close friends during his childhood. During young adulthood, Mr. Scrooge was engaged to be married. However, when his bride-to-be Belle expressed concerns about Mr. Scrooge’s obsession with money, the wedding was called off. After the wedding was called off, Mr. Scrooge, states he turned his focus completely to his business and did not attempt to make any friends or to maintain any other relationships. He does state that he had one friend, Jacob Marley, who was also his business partner. Jacob Marley is now deceased and Mr. Scrooge has no other close friends.

It is easy to see why Ebenezer Scrooge became the man he was... secretive, self-contained and solitary as an oyster. It would take the Ghost of Jacob Marley, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-To-Come to transform him into a kinder, gentler man.

The day after Christmas, Bob Cratchit comes through the door a full eighteen and a half minutes late for work, Scrooge is beavering away at his desk, same as always, his face like thunder. Poor old Bob is scared out of his wits. But that's nothing compared to how shocked he must be when Scrooge takes off his miser's mask and tells him that he's going to raise his salary. A raise? From Scrooge? Bob can't believe his own ears. In fact, he thinks that his boss has taken leave of his senses. Ebenezer says, "Bob, I haven't taken leave of my senses. I've come to them. From now on I want to try to help you to raise that family of yours. If you’ll let me... ".

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.'' Charles Dicken's tells us that Scrooge lived up to all his promises. Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.

The moral of the story is that it is never too late to begin to act in a loving and caring way towards one's fellow man in, as Dickens saw it, the necessary Christian spirit of love, forgiveness and generosity.

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