“A Christmas Carol” is not the best book for the holiday season


Madison Aboud

Bah humbug. “A Christmas Carol” is a story that has captured hearts for many generations, and will continue to capture them for many more.

Charles Dickens wrote his famous novella “A Christmas Carol” when he was in a rut with money. 

Dickens spent six weeks sick in bed when he chose to write “A Christmas Carol.” The story was completed by the beginning of December, 1843. By Christmas Eve of that year, the story was completely sold out. Now, over 150 years later, the story still continues to excite and thrill readers. 

“A Christmas Carol” is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge hates Christmas and everything that comes with it—especially people. 

One particular Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts. His deceased friend Marley comes to tell him that he needs to change the error of his ways. He goes on to tell Scrooge that he will be visited by three other ghosts as well: The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present and The Ghost of Christmas Future. 

In the end, Scrooge discovers his true love of Christmas and decides to share it with the world.  

I first read “A Christmas Carol” around Christmas time last year. I am sorry to say it did not strike my fancy as much as other novellas or novels have. 

Dickens’ writing style is at times difficult to understand. He has a lot of flourishes and likes to draw things out. Sometimes this can make the story more interesting, but most of the time, it feels incredibly unnecessary. As grotesque as Marley’s appearance may seem, it does not need to take half a page to describe it.  

That being said, Dickens has a way of drawing readers into the story. Ebenzer is such a complex character that engages readers in his life and what is happening. Dickens makes the reader dislike Ebenzer Scrooge while still making them understand him. 

Dickens’ could have given more depth to many of the characters throughout the story. The only character with any true development is Ebenzer Scrooge. All of the other characters are the same at the end that they were at the beginning. The story does only take place over the course of one night, but there are many things that the author could have done differently in order to add character depth to the side characters. 

I loved the atmosphere of this novel. Victorian London is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and Christmas in Victorian London just made it even more likable. Nothing is better than bundling up and caroling through the streets while passersby do their final shopping before Christmas morning. Dickens’ does a great job at immersing the reading into the time period and the wintery atmosphere of the novel. 

“A Christmas Carol” focuses a lot on Scrooge changing to become a better person, but it doesn’t give a large amount of time as to why Scrooge is the person he is at the start of the story. Without it, Scrooge feels like he has no true reason to hate Christmas. 

Overall, “A Christmas Carol” is an excellent story idea, but the execution was not what it could have been. Dickens’ does a great job of keeping the atmosphere engaging, but leaves a lot of room for character growth that does not happen. The story is great to read in one night and will put anyone in the Christmas Spirit.