A Christmas Carol produced a lively and surprising amount of discussion given how well known the story is. We have all been exposed to film adaptations and these had influenced our images of the tale but there were still some elements that came as a surprise – Scrooge visiting coal miners and fishermen for example. As a child Dickens spent some time working in a factory producing boot blacking when his father was imprisoned for debt and this experience is reflected in his books – he touches on social problems and often focuses on children. He has a real feel and concern for those in straitened circumstances.
Generally the language was not a problem – Dickens’ descriptions were enjoyed although some elements of the conversations didn’t sound natural to today’s ears. The opening paragraphs are brilliant – a real hook! Few in the group have read any of Dickens’ longer works and generally there was still some hesitation about tackling these.
Although Scrooge takes lack of concern for his fellow man to an extreme the tale still serves as a wakeup call for us all – how often do we fail to find time for others in busy schedules? Do we act out of concern for others? Would the ghosts come to us, and what would be said at our funerals? A Christmas Carol is still a book that pulls you up and makes you think … more so on the page than the screen.