A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

Read time: about 6 minutes

It was during the Victorian times where everyone seemed to lose the essence of Christmas. Due to some massive economic changes where the money was concentrating on some hands, some didn’t possess any money to celebrate Christmas as they intended to spend. This was the time when Dickens decided to write the book on Christmas and the essence of this Christian festival. The book which consists of a bad villain, a few good-natured ghosts and a happy ending made a huge impact at that time. There were plays being staged and movies being made out of this novella. Dickens left an impact of which traces can be seen even today. The novel is a masterpiece not just because of the Christmas theme but also for literature.

Cover page

I picked up rupa publisher’s edition. Rupa is a great publication to read books of. Even though the cover page is not very appealing, the font inside is suitable for eyes. It is neither too small nor too light. I finished the book in one sitting and the credit goes both to the author as well as the publisher.


There are too many characters in the book but I will make it concise and list five main characters. The lead character is Ebenezer scrooge who is a business man. Scrooge is a miser and he hates Christmas as much as he hates poor people. Scrooge is a character which is easy to hate in the beginning and who undergoes a transformation during the course of time. The slow transition is what makes the character interesting.

The next character is Marley or his ghost. Marley was scrooge’s business after but he died few years back, doing no good and earning nothing intangible. Marley’s ghost is now destined to roam around burdened with chains. The ghost cannot escape his fate now, therefore, he has come down to meet scrooge to warn about this, if he doesn’t make amends. Marley’s ghost is an adorable character. The description is slightly fantasised but it makes the character far more interesting.

Marley assures scrooge that he can escape Marley’s fate if he starts making changes in his conduct. He asks scrooge to anticipate a visit from three ghosts who will enlighten him of his future.

The ghost of Christmas past is a ghost from the past who shows scrooge his life in the past, the ghost of Christmas present realises him of the present Christmas and the ghost of the future shows him a glimpse of Christmas future.

All the characters are blown life into by the character sketching and the scene setting. The characters are unique in their own way. They are all lovable, at least by the end of the book hence keeping the spirit of Christmas alive.


Scrooge is a miser who hates poor for their vanity. He is left alone by the only family that he has since he despises them too. Christmas is a very hard time for him because, with it, it brings along an unnecessary holiday and undesired people at his door looking for a penny to spend. The ridiculousness of the festival amuses him. This happens until he is visited by the ghost of Marley, who is roaming around burdened with chains, money box and other things. He has a groan in his voice which is painful and terrifying at the same time.

Marley warns scrooge that he would share the same fate as him if he follows the same path. There is redemption, for which he will be cities by three ghosts. They will show him the way and he can escape the disappointing fate.

The entry of all the three ghost brings transformation in scrooge’s vision. He vows to live his life differently from now on.

The book has been made into movies, musicals, plays and cartoons. There is probably no one who speaks English and does not know of this story of Christmas. Therefore, it is hardly a spoiler!

The content is hard hitting and enjoyable at the same time. The release of the novella brought in a great change in the time and beyond. Every year the story is retold to remind people of the spirit of Christmas.


Charles Dickens rightfully earned his place in the literature due to his enticing stories and compelling narration. Dickens here too has left a mark. The book is brought to life by using personification. The narration takes you back to the 1800’s when the book was released. A whiff of time is ever-present in the book. The character sketching is brilliant.

Good points

The characters are much loved. They remind you of the spirit of Christmas. The narration is alluring. The content is very fun and ends with a moral message.

Bad points

The book maybe a little too difficult to understand. The Victorian references may be little intimidating for someone who has not read dickens before.


Overall the book is an excellent read. A classic that everyone should read.

Who do I recommend this to

This book is for those who find classics intimidating. They are going to find this easy to read and fun. This is probably the thinnest book by dickens. Those who want to read his other books might want to start here to get a whiff of his writing style.

Quotable Quotes

There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.

No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.

You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!

Marley was dead: to begin with.

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”

“If they would rather die, . . . they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

“He was consious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.”

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com