Monday, December 17, 2012

Mysteries of History: A Christmas Carol

I looove history! Probably shouldn't have changed my major to it unless I was going to teach but after majoring in art, culinary arts (which I finished), and business (the worst!), I figured the only way I was going to finish was to love what I was doing ...and I did!  

Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it. 
Edmund Burke 

So now I'm brining my geek love for the past to all of you!! I introduce to you Mysteries of History, a series on Catastrophe where I share my passion by giving you a history lesson ;)


"Marley was dead: to begin with."


I love Dickens. Yes, I am kind of a book geek. I never get much of chance to read the way I would like, but I still love to!  ...back to Dickens. I love A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield but most of all I love A Christmas Carol.  Everything about that story puts me in the holiday spirit.  Not only have I read it but I don't think I have missed one version of the story ...from the Patrick Stewart version to the Muppets (my favorite!) to Scrooged with Bill Murray. I love them all! I know the lines... oh don't even get me started.

With Christmas right around the corner, what better way to launch this series than with the history of a Christmas ghost story.

Published in 1843, A Christmas Carol is a novella written by the great Charles Dickens. 

Did you know that Ebenezer Scrooge was very roughly based off Dicken's own father?? Well, Dickens had a rough relationship with his father. Very love/hate. He shows this in Scrooge's character by demonstrating the drastic change between the harsh cold-hearted Scrooge in the beginning of the story in comparison to the kind-hearted, Christmas-loving Scrooge at the stories end. 

Industrial Capitalism... ok, did I just lose you? Wait...wait...I'm going somewhere with this. It's gonna be good. Industrial capitalism is the idea that the only way one state (or person) could do well is that the expense of another. Does this sound familiar?? SCROOGE!  The Victorian ideals were starting to lean more towards the idea of consumerism and people were starting to abandon the idea of goodwill towards men. A Christmas Carol is in essence speaking against this concept. It is bringing back the ideals of Christmas charity and all things merry!! The true Christmas spirit.

Dickens was influenced to write his lovely tale because of the state of the poor in England at the time.  The Industrial Revolution had put many people out of work and in doing so, the government had implemented the Poor Laws, which basically opened the doors for many workhouses with horrible conditions and practically no fair labor laws for everyone including children.  Dickens started out writing 
this story as a pamphlet against unfair labor laws and it turned into this wonderful story.

Dickens is famous for bringing back the true meaning of Christmas.  He showed that even a home that was poor could be rich in love and that was all that was needed. Christmas isn't about the gifts but about family, values, traditions, and goodwill towards all.

Dickens uses this story to tell a tale of humanity.  To show the goodness that exists in the hearts of men and the love that can live within us.  For this, A Christmas Carol is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories.  

To you and all of yours, Merry Christmas and "God bless us, every one."

Work Cited:
"A Christmas Carol" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2 November 2012. Web. 7 November 2012.
Austin, Rose. "History of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens." Yahoo! Voices. 8 December 2009. December 2012
Wertz, Jay. "A Christmas Carol" Great Pop Culture History. 22 December 2009. December 2012.

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