It wasn’t until I was at secondary school that, after being tortured with many books which I never want to read again, I discovered the one which was to become a lifelong favourite- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It was love at first read.
The storyline so perfectly captures the importance of kindness over cruelty, with its moral that eventually we all have to pay for the consequences of our actions.
Crafted to perfection by Dickens, the first line hooked me in, and I couldn’t put it down.
“Marley was dead to begin with; there was no doubt whatever about that.”
I remember reading the entire novella in one sitting, and then reading it again almost immediately.
Published in 1843, A Christmas Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser called Ebenezer Scrooge. A money lender and mortgage broker, Scrooge treats his loyal clerk, Bob Cratchit, with a meanness that would be regarded as bullying in the workplace today. Dickens’ novella tells of Scrooge’s transformation from a greedy killjoy into a gentler, kinder man after a visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley, and three other ghosts he sends to teach Scrooge the error of his ways; the childlike Ghost of Christmas Past, the jolly giant Ghost of Christmas Present and the frighteningly mute Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Against the background of a Victorian Christmas, Dickens captures the extremes of life in Nineteenth Century England perfectly, as he takes Scrooge, and his readers, on a journey of hope and salvation.
Oozing with Christmas spirit, A Christmas Carol is ultimately a story filled with hope, and passes on the message that, however old you are, it is never too late to change your life.
Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.