Ebenezer Scrooge has become synonymous with miserliness and the anti-Christmas sentiment. "Bah-humbug!" says it all. The ghost of his business partner offers him a chance to change and avoid the punishment that awaits Scrooge in the afterlife. He sends three spirits--Christmas Past, Present and Future. We learn through the ghost’s revelations that Scrooge was a lonely boy who found happiness in the love of Mr. Fezziwig’s daughter. But his pursuit of wealth drives his fiancé away and he spends his life alone until that fateful Christmas Eve. When he is reminded that all of his wealth means nothing without someone to share it with, he decides to mend his ways.
Unlike his famous character, Charles Dickens was a champion of the poor throughout his writing career. This could have stemmed from his childhood experience of being sent out to work in a factory while his father was in prison for debts. Charles Dickens’ career was in a slump at the time he came to write A Christmas Carol in 1843. He wanted to tell a holiday story that would be appealing but also advocate for the poor and downtrodden in the burgeoning industrialization of the Victorian age. The novella is credited with reviving the celebration of Christmas in Victorian England through its evocative depictions of traditional celebration. Its immense also popularity gave his career a boost! Much of the way we celebrate Christmas today has come down to us from the Victorians and the Christmas Carol such as the Christmas tree, exchanging cards and carol singing.
The story of Scrooge has been re-told by many modern television programs; the idea of the transformation story around the Christmas season has been adapted in many forms-think It’s a Wonderful Life, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The idea that someone so miserable can change is a comforting one, especially during the holiday season with the focus on family, generosity and reflection. We can always use a reminder to practice kindness in our lives.
Here are a few titles you might find on Scrooge’s bookshelf after his reformative experience.
This blog post is one in a series highlighting our diverse collection through imagined reading lists for fictional characters. Search the tag From the Protagonist's Bookshelf for more reading lists.