A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens, 1843

Loved reading this after enjoying the movie with George C. Scott every year for many, many years! I was surprised at how closely the movie follows the book, in most places word-for-word. I like the way he describes the ghosts better in the book than the way they are portrayed in the movie. There are only a few scenes in the book that were not in the movie, all of them with the Ghost of Christmas Present, called the second Spirit in the book: They visited the home of an old miner and his family, they visited two men working in a lighthouse, and many street scenes and shop scenes where people are festive and happy with the Christmas spirit.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.

Describing the phantoms out in the dark sky after Marley’s ghost leaves Scrooge.

“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us, and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”

The second of the three Spirits explaining to Scrooge that those who seek to close places for the poor on the 7th day in God’s name are not acting in God’s will.

Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick-beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich. In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.

I like the sentence that has “where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door, and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing…” Lord, let me not be one that bars the Spirit out.

Excellent book – but the movie is so close to the book and there are parts of the book that are not easy to understand because of the old language, that the movie is actually more moving. Also, George C. Scott plays Scrooge so incredibly well!