A Christmas Carol
This book is still very relevant even in our modern times, in which what one may describe as “Scroogian” behaviour appears to be entrenched in the way peoples interact within societies and which also seems to define relations amongst the nations – pure self-interest and commercialism.
The word “scroogian” or the expression “being a scrooge” are coined from the name of the principal character of the novella, Ebenezer Scrooge.
The tale takes place all on Christmas Eve and the early hours of Christmas day.
On Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his long dead partner, Jacob Marley. After him come three more ghostly visitors: Spirit-Past, Spirit-Present and Spirit-Future.
It is a long night in which the spirits, taking turns, take Ebenezer Scrooge on a deep, contemplative journey of his life past, his life present, and the possibilities for his life future, for “their works follow after them” as the spirit of his partner, Jacob Marley has already forewarned him before these apparitions come to him.
It is a long night, and a frightening night, and when Christmas Day finally arrives, Scrooge is a very different man indeed.
Charles Dickens was of course a great writer and social critic of the English Victorian Age. This particular novella addressed the mean-spiritedness and greed gaining ascendancy during that age, and foresaw what could happen to a human being who wholly embraced these attributes.
Dickens foresaw how the market economy would develop in decades to follow. He was a great social observer and commentator, and used his pen to try and right a lot of these ills such as workhouses for the poor in London, poor sanitary conditions, truancy and delinquency among young and the poor and so forth. Have these ills gone from the society he lived in almost two hundred years ago?