[HEAR ME OUT] Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Is a Holiday Miracle

A tablet displaying the cover of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is held up by a Black woman's hand--my hand-- in front of a glittery Christmas tree in closeup.

Merry Christmas!!!

So this is not the Christmas post I had originally intended. I had this whole thoughtful post/review about Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol planned out for today.

I was going to tell you about how I re-read it every year at Christmastime, and how I have large chunks of it basically memorized as a result. I was going to tell you about how much I love the way Dickens uses descriptive language in the book, and how surprised I was to see that the numerous film and television adaptations are, for the most part, really just putting the words and story directly on the screen. I was going to explain how it’s not really Christmas for me until Scrooge tells Marley he’s more gravy than grave, and Tiny Tim blesses everybody.

Then I was going to go into this whole thing about how A Christmas Carol is a rare true classic, bound to a very specific time and place and cultural context yet somehow so universal that you can (and people have) tell the same story with the same characters in entirely different contexts and it still works. A Christmas Carol is decidedly English, Christian, Londoner, and was originally written in response to the horrible child labor and exploitation Dickens personally witnessed in his lifetime. Yet, whether by luck, intention, or the very rare gift of being able to mind his own business, Dickens managed to write a book in 1843 that portrays disability kindly, is not only sympathetic to but empowering for poor people, shows loving community-based spirituality, and doesn’t contain any of the racialized language that was widely accepted at the time. All that, and it has ghosts, a surprising amount of humor, and one of the best main character arcs of all time. It’s truly a Christmas miracle of a book.

Yeah. I was going to do a post about all that, but I cooked this epic meal and ate it all in my Christmas pajamas and have just been lazing about in front of movie musicals, video chatting with my people since then–so I was just too tired to write it all out and post it.

So I guess it’ll just have to wait until next year.

Hope you’re having a lovely Christmas if you celebrate, and a great weekend if you don’t, beautiful people. Peace!

(Merry Christmas, fellow readers! That’s all for today.)


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