Digging ‘A Christmas Carol’ out from the lumps of coal heaped on it – The Boston Globe

This is what “A Christmas Carol” is not: a treatise on economic inequality, though Dickens had compassion for the poor and even allows them to be merry on Christmas.

This is what the novel is: a pitch-perfect Christmas story that, like every carol, sings. Like many Christmas stories, it is about love: the story of a man who exchanged his love of people for the love of money. His only friend, Jacob Marley, is seven years dead. His ghost returns to warn Scrooge of the fate that awaits him and to tell him he’ll be visited by three other ghosts.

With the three ghosts’ help, Scrooge reckons with the truth of what he has become. The final ghost reveals a vision of a possible future, in which Tiny Tim is no more and his father — Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit — walks more slowly without his beloved son on his shoulder. Then Scrooge sees his own grave. He has died friendless, buried in a neglected churchyard.

When he wakes, it is Christmas day, and he is completely alive. He is reborn — Christmas, after all, is about a miraculous birth. He does more than bestow a turkey on the Cratchits and give Bob a raise. He becomes a “second father” to Tiny Tim and as good a man as any.

And that is quite a Christmas tale.

Neil M. Kulick


The writer is a retired public school English teacher.

Story’s simple yet powerful messages are timeless

After reading Tom Joudrey’s “Bah, humbug! ‘A Christmas Carol’ is cringeworthy,” I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. My wife and I enjoy watching “A Christmas Carol” every holiday season. It is the story that had the greatest impact on my childhood and that has left an indelible impression upon my life. That’s because it contains simple yet powerful messages.

It is the story of a mean, miserly, misanthropic man who awakens to his own humanity and to that of humankind. Many of us know someone who has shut the warmth of the world out and buried their own within. Perhaps we have even been that person ourselves. Who can forget the childlike glee and fascination Scrooge experiences as he undergoes his marvelous transformation? That’s one reason so many people enjoy this story.

The themes contained in this enduring Charles Dickens classic are timeless: Let us share our humanity without reservation or expectations and realize that by helping to lift another person, we also help to lift ourselves. Let us recognize that by allowing in the goodness and warmth of the world, we help bring the best of ourselves out. These are messages we should all celebrate and perpetuate.

Perhaps the greatest genius of Dickens’s story is that it makes us realize that we should embody the qualities of Christmas year round. So as you go about your business, think of what the author wanted readers to take away from his story: that humankind is the most important business of all.

Michael J. DiStefano

Jamestown, R.I.

The writer is an addiction recovery counselor and facilitator who uses literary classics as a part of his recovery coaching work.

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