Monday, January 28, 2013

Classic Talk # 1: A Christmas Carol

Classic Talk is a new category of posts on my blog, pertaining to 'just-a-little-something' related to the classics I'd be reading this year. (One of my reading goals is to read and re-read classics!) I didn't want to make it a review. How do you even review timeless classics? No idea! Though I definitely wanted to write something about them. It had been quite a long time since I last read a classic and I don't really know how the idea to start reading them again struck me, but I'm glad it did. The first one I read this year is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I remember a time in school when I started reading these books, one after the other and I suppose, the books had a different kind of an impact back then. That's the case with all classics, actually. As much as some readers explore the books, look for meanings and themes, criticize some authors and favor others for their style of writing or character building or stories, even, I don't think I'm that kind of a reader. It might sound weird, but I tend to like almost every author for whatever they write. And God forbid if I ever dislike a classics author! The only exceptions are when I find what they write ridiculous, but that's also just my perception, based on my way of thinking.

Charles Dickens
Anyway, coming back to A Christmas Carol, it's kind of my favorite by Charles Dickens (till now. I'm yet to read/re-read the other books). It's a funny story, if you ask me, even funnier to have it as a favorite, but I just can't help it. Ebenezer Scrooge is a shrewd, miserly, unkind and selfish man, someone who'd never spend a dime on anything 'frivolous' (and he found a lot of things that fit that definition) or for anyone else. Damn, that man hasn't even smiled since years! He calls Christmas a "Humbug". He has just one living relative, his nephew Fred. This is a story of unbelievable transformation of someone so shrewd, into someone who's almost 'lovable', alongside celebrating the spirit of Christmas too, of course. The underlying theme is the celebration of Christmas in the true spirit, with cheer and happiness and love. The story begins with the day before Christmas when Scrooge returns to his quarters (home) and starts noticing strange things starting right from the door knocker at the entrance. He's visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley, who was his partner in business in life and who passed away a few years previously. Jacob Marley's ghost visits him to warn him about his unpleasant, unloved possible future life (and after life), if he doesn't learn to be a better man.


Jacob warns Scrooge that he'll be visited by three ghosts at night, those that'll help him understand the extent to which his present character is not good. Scrooge is ultimately 'shaken up' towards the end of the night, when the three ghosts have made their visits one after the other (I didn't quite understand the time gap :| ). The first one is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who makes Scrooge go through his desolate past, how he was as a kid, his family, the girl he loved, the place where he worked and used to make a merry Christmas! The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him the spirit and happiness 'in-the-air', every place they went, rich or poor, all had a kind word and a smile to give. He was also shaken up by seeing how his clerk, Bob Crachit, lived with his loving family, living on the meager wage he gave him. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was the final catch! Scrooge was, by that time, on his knees, pleading forgiveness and promising to be a better person. 

As a reader, you can't help like the way the theme is projected: that even a person who seems beyond repair, can, with a dose of reality, be shaken and stirred and made to understand the power of love and kindness. That the spirit of Christmas is something so enjoyable, that it's better celebrated not just once, but throughout the year, that a kind hand and a warm smile can do you much good than any amount of money ever can. Of course I loved the inclusion of ghosts as well. I loved the writing style (even though some people call it exaggerated, I still like the way he used his words!) and I loved some of the quotable quotes from the book! I love the way this book sold like hot cakes the year it was published, and how Dickens wrote a Christmas story for years after that. I guess this is one classic I'd know a lot about! I even liked the movie! 

Have you read this book? Did you like it as much as I did? 

PS- Any views on what I can include in these Classic Talk posts? For this one I've just typed in one go!


8 comments:

  1. I have read it...but it was just an excerpt included in our textbook...but anyway we (I) enjoyed it, especially "bah! humbug!" gained utmost popularity. :D

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    1. Yes I remember that :) I had read the book earlier and then came a pleasant surprise when I saw it in the textbook! ;)

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  2. Yes, this is a great book. I read it a while ago. Nice discussion.

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  3. I remember reading the excerpt in our textbook in 6th or 7th, like Srishti. And I do remember liking it a lot, but I guess the concept of reading novels was as alien to me then as going to toilet for doing er.. stuff is to an infant(what? i would've written it, if had a better example), so I never got to read the whole book. In fact I haven't yet read any of the English classics.
    I would love to, though, because I just love the writing style of that period :P

    And best of luck for your 'Classic Talk' posts, you could include a little introduction of the author if you want to, and what you like about that particular author and the book you are having a talk about.

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    1. Haha! You should totally read classics. I just have a feeling you'd like them! :) Read this one too. You'll like it :)

      Thanks for the suggestion, would do that! :)

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  4. Nice review. This story was in our class 10 syllabus. I saw its movie also..amazing story, a classic indeed :)

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    1. Yep. It was in class 10! And yeah!! The movie was done pretty well. I like it too! It includes almost everything there was in the book. :)

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