Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Christmas Carol....

Our November Socratic Book Club read was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  I had seen several renditions of the movie over the years, but never read Dickens' actual novel.  Truth be told, this was the first Dickens novel I actually read.

A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge finding the true meaning of Christmas.  Scrooge is cantankerous, crabby, cold hearted, and a down right miserable man.  Then one Christmas Eve, after being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future in a series of dreams, Scrooge awakens to become a changed man.

Once again, I used SparkNotes as advance preparation for our discussion.  I introduced the term allegory and conflicts such as man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. God; man vs. self, and man vs. society.  I also reviewed protagonist/antagonist and The Five Elements of Fiction: Story Chart.  The discussion was great!  Most of the students were engaged and a couple even had a thoughtful debate in response to a question posed.

A Christmas Carol is an important piece of literature that should be required reading.  Many words and phrases from this Dickens classic have become common language in our society.  "Scrooge" is used  in reference to a miserly person.  We say "Bah humbug" when referring to nonsense.  In spite of the archaic 19th Century British writing, A Christmas Carol has a Lexile Measure of 1080 and should be easily readable by most middle and high school students.

When choosing a copy of A Christmas Carol, I recommend an unabridged edition.  Ours was an old hardback illustrated by Arthur Rackham.   Unfortunately, the spine fell apart while I was reading, but I love the illustrations so much that I plan to keep it and hopefully, someday, repair it.

Also, Adam Andrews from Center for Lit is currently offering a free audio of A Christmas Carol for live streaming.

Overall, we loved A Christmas Carol!  SPOILER ALERTI will leave you with the final paragraph....
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total-Abstinence Principle ever afterwards; and it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so as Tiny Tim observed God bless Us, Every One!
BTW, I'm using A Christmas Carol as my Classic Novella in the 2015 Back to the Classics Challenge.  


  1. I read this aloud last Christmas. I do love Arthur Rackham's whimsical illustrations. Have you decided which books you're going to read for the Back to the Classics Challenge next year?

  2. No, I was looking at the categories last night, but am still pondering my choices. It's fun hopping around the different blogs to get ideas :)

    Thanks for stopping by...