Full Title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Dickens divided the original story into “staves” (i.e. stanzas), with the title likewise being an analogy to verse or song.
Who: Charles Dickens, the most famous English novelist of the 19th century.
Overview: A Christmas Carol is Dickens’ compelling and imaginative story of the life of a miser reformed by a tour through time in which he is visited by Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In all three tenses, Ebenezer Scrooge sees the truth that he had been missing about his own life, the life of his employee, and the effects of his miserable—pun intended—lifestyle on others.
Meat: This story, which many learned growing up from various adaptations such as those of Disney, is much more than a children’s tale. Like the story that follows it, it has elements of horror and fantasy woven into a simple story. And Scrooge is reformed by the vision of the results of his selfishness; in that sense, the story parallels a Christian conversion, and this is clearer in the original book.
“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
“Bah,” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
You can read A Christmas Carol for free on Kindle, Project Gutenberg, or listen on LibriVox.