> The Things You Can Read: Dickens in December A Christmas Carol: Questions & Reponses

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dickens in December A Christmas Carol: Questions & Reponses

Dickens in December

Earlier in the month we shared with our readers that we had joined the folks over at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Postcards from Asia, who have been hosting a great event, celebrating Dickens in December.  Since we teach Dickens in December this was not too big a stretch for us.  I will add that we have always been a fan of Dickens' extensive body of work and we did re-read or should I say re-listened to the original A Christmas Carol narrated by the great Tim Curry, yes the actor from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  

As described by the hosts, "The event includes book and movie reviews, a read-along, and two give-aways."  You, the reader, were to pick your Dickens novel or you could simply join the read-along.  You decided.

On December 21, 2012 each participant is asked to either share a review or their answers to pre-determined questions.  We decided to do both.  Therefore, I am starting early.  Today, we are sharing the the answers to the questions...so here goes!

Is this the first time you are reading the story?

We have read A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley dramatized by Israel Horovitz: adapted from Charles Dickens at least twelve times, and we have also enjoyed the original version of the classic Christmas story as an audiobook.  Audible.com  describes the classic story as follows:

"This version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, masterfully narrated by Tim Curry, was available for a limited time last year, and now it's back. This one-of-a-kind performance puts a unique spin on a treasured classic...Tim Curry performs this timeless holiday story in a deliciously dark tone, returning it to its Dickensian roots with a vivid imagining of Victorian London and just the right touch of outrageous fun. 
A Christmas Carol has constantly been in print since its original publication in 1849, and has been adapted for stage, television, film, and opera. It has often been credited with returning the jovial and festive atmosphere to the holiday season in Britain and North America, following the somber period that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. 
The story opens on a bleak and cold Christmas Eve as Ebenezer Scrooge is closing up his office for the day. As the story progresses and Christmas morning approaches, Scrooge encounters the unforgettable characters that make this story a classic: Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and, of course, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
We have also read the original version too-just not this year.

Did you like it?

I do like the story and it stays fresh because, as surprising as this may be, a large number of my students don't know the story or anything about Charles Dickens.  The most frequent answer to my request, at the beginning of the unit, to name one novel by Charles Dickens is Moby Dick-I swear-it happens every year!  Here is the nice thing about teaching this unit, I get to see the story through their "First-Timer" eyes, in other words, like it was my first time reading the story.  I guess this is one of the perks of teaching!

Which was your favorite scene?

My favorite scene is when Scrooge encounters Marley for the first time.  I'm especially  fond of the part where Scrooge's door knocker turns into Marley's face.  I also enjoy the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, because these lessons are the ones that truly make Scrooge see the error of his ways.

Which was your least favorite scene?

I don't really have a least favorite scene. A Christmas Carol is rather short, and each scene is necessary to reach the denouement.

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the one I find most interesting. The whole idea of seeing your future and knowing that you can change the cause or effect of ones actions intrigues me. Again, the ghost who makes the strongest impact on Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, which is why I appreciate his contribution to the story. The fact that he says nothing, and is still the scariest of all the ghosts is another reason I find him the most interesting. In the hands of a lesser writer this effect would be hard to achieve without dialogue, yet in Dickens apt hands it looks easy.

Was there a character you wish you knew more about?

I would like to know more about Marley.  How did he and Scrooge come to be partners?  Why didn't Scrooge and Dick go into business together?

How did you like the end?

Yes, the ending is satisfying and does share a wonderful lesson or theme for readers to take away.  The ending is appropriate for the time in which the novel  was written.  

Did you think it was believable?

I am sorry to say, I am a glass half empty kind of gal, and I believe that "leopards don't change their spots," even if they are visited by three or four spirits, if you count Marley.  In other words, by today's standards, I don't think the ending is believable, but I sure wish it could happen.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if it could!

Additional thoughts on the ending:
I wanted to add another thought about the idea of Scrooge changing so quickly at the end of the story. I would say Dickens intended the story to be more like a fairy tale/fable, which is structured to teach an obvious lesson, so with that in mind, the change in Scrooge does occur quickly, but if we think of it as  a morality story, which is intended to incorporate a heavy-handed moral, it works.

Do you know anyone like Scrooge?

I do know some miserly folks, but not to the extent of Scrooge.

Did he deserve to be saved?

If Scrooge truly changed, and really went on to do such good works as saving Tiny Tim's life, then, yes, he did deserve to be saved.
Ta-da...I have answered all the questions.  What do you think of Charles Dickens holiday Classic, A Christmas Carol?  Let us know, here at The Things You Can Read.

Click on over to the hosting blogs, Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Postcards from Asia, and consider checking out the Reviews/Responses of all those who joined the month long celebration of reading Dickens in December.  Again, let us know, here at The Things You Can Read, the title of your favorite Dickens Novel.  Ours is Great Expectations

Happy Reading!
The Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!


  1. I've enjoyed reading all your answers, and thought it was amusing that your students thought Moby Dick was one of Dickens' works.
    Great Expectations was the only full length novel oh his that I've read and liked very much.
    Thanks for taking part in the read-along with us.

  2. I'm curious what you thought of the Curry narration. I listened to it as well and at times really enjoyed it but at other times I almost turned it off because it was too over the top. I also read (when not on my commute) and was glad for the break from audio at times...

    Honestly it makes me sad that children don't know this is a Dickens story. I should text my 16 year old brother and see if he knows (though he'd probably be able to Google it on his phone before answering me!). ;)

    Favorite Dickens? I'm partial to Our Mutual Friend. Reading Bleak House right now (also listening...narrated by Simon Vance).

    Happy Christmas!

  3. I really liked the scene with Marley. I was so torn about which was my favourite scene! I particularly liked the dialogue between the two. I suppose the ending is a bit sweet and maybe overly perfect but it is fitting for this time of year and it makes you feel happy for Scrooge at the end.
    Lynn :D

  4. I loved this book, too! I also found the Future Ghost very scary, because of this way he was described and because he didn't talk.

    I also think it's quite unlikely that someone would change in such a short period of time (or, at all), but that's the magic of the story, I guess.

  5. I listened to the Tim Curry version as well. Fantastic, wasn't he? :)

    I don't entirely agree with you about Scrooge's change at the end of the story. Yes, I think it's rare for someone to change so quickly...but I have to say that if I were visited by 4 ghosts in one night (and had good reason to believe that they were real) I'd probably go a little loony too. We have to consider that the visitation was fantastic to begin with, so Scrooge's change doesn't stand out to me as particularly unbelievable. :)

    my review of A Christmas Carol

  6. I love that scene with the door locker as well and like you would have licked to kn ow more about Marley.
    I find it surprsing your students think Dickens wrote Moby Dick. Yeah well... I have a feeling they would find Moby Dick far less accessible than most of Dickens's novels.
    Thanks for joining us.


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