I’ve finally been able to finish Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol yesterday. I’ve meant to finish it Sunday afternoon (the day before yesterday) but haven’t been able to since I was preoccupied with a mini family reunion (on All Saint’s Day). I bought this paperback almost three months before and reserved it for reading at an appropriate atmosphere (Christmastime). I know it’s still November, at a time just after Halloween and within the days when we revere our dearly departed, but Disney’s releasing their 3D movie adaptation of this novel on November 6, 2009 (Friday). Which, obviously, justifies my reading it now. I was blown away by the trailer (which was shown when I watched Battle for Terra) and have decided to watch it on the first day of showing.
Now, on to the book (I rant a lot, don’t I?). It’s my first time to read a classic novel, or any standard novel, being told in the first person. Most of the novels that I have read so far in the past were in the third person, impersonal. This one, however, makes use of a lot of “I’s” and puts in a lot of Dickens’ opinion. Despite that, I was able to visualize the story, thus understanding it. But frankly, almost majority of its parts that I’ve read were vague due to Dickens personal interjections. Maybe it’s just that I’m not used to reading classics, but really, I experienced some instances of being detached from the flow of the story, which subsequently interrupted by visualization.
After some research, I found out that A Christmas Carol is not a novel, but a novella—that is, a fictional prose that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. An in-between! It is also divided into staves, not chapters. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a stave a stanza of poetry? So, was A Christmas Carol a poetry piece before becoming a novella?
Anyway, this novella was influenced by Dickens’ experiences in his childhood. At 12 years old, he was forced to work in a shoe polish factory after the imprisonment of his father. He had to get out of school and pawn his book collection (ouch!). Three months after being imprisoned, his father was released, but he was still forced to continue his work (second ouch!). See, he considers himself as superior in intellect and having a touch of class, so his new circumstances caused him to be uneasy. He wanted to get back to his old, comfortable life. However, in his experience, he was able to see the hardships that people endure, even at Christmas. He also saw instances of child labor and how child laborers waste away their opportunities for play and enjoyment. This ignited Dickens to write petitions and literary pieces soliciting aid for the poor. He went through a lot of writings and publishing before finally coming up with A Christmas Carol, which at its initial release in Christmas of 1843, was instantly sold out that a second and third printing had to be done. And those printings were made even before the arrival of 1844!
So after all, I did enjoy A Christmas Carol. I have heard of it before, being a staple piece of literature at Christmas, but never really got to read it. Despite its long and less sensible sentences (see quote below), I still got the gist. I find it suitable for people of all ages, although youngsters might have a difficult time understanding it. It’s a good thing the paperback that I bought had a glossary of the idioms used all throughout the book. It also contains a short biography of Charles Dickens and the initial reaction of his novella. Now, I can’t wait for the movie adaptation to compare my visualizations with those of Disney. I’ll fill you in once I’ve seen the movie.
There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes made, in the shopkeepers’ benevolence, to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shuffling ankle-deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Published in 1966
by Washington Square Press Publication
of POCKET BOOKS
Note: That’s just a sentence of a paragraph!