Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol – Readalong

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It didn’t take Delia and me very long to decide which book to choose for our Dickens in December readalong. There really couldn’t be a more fitting book to read just before Christmas than Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Last week we sent out a few questions. Some of you have chosen to answer them for the readalong, others wrote a review. Both is fine and all the links to the different contributions can be found at the end of my post and will help you to find the participants and visit their blogs. It’s updated regularly, so come back and check who else has contributed.

Is this the first time you are reading the story?

I have read A Christmas Carol before, I guess some 5 or 6 years ago and already knew then that I would read it again some day.

Did you like it?

I liked it very much 5 years ago that’s why I knew I would read it again. I still liked it this time around but for very different reasons. I was much more attentive this time to the moral of the story. The first time I was paying more attention to the descriptions.

Which was your favorite scene?

I have two favourite scenes or parts. One is the scene when Marley’s ghost appears. It’s quite spooky and Scrooge’s shock is shown so well. It’s also a very dark passage as there is clearly no redemption for Marley. It’s too late for him to change anything. While the whole story is about the power of change, this first part is a cautionary tale showing us that while Dickens did believe in change that didn’t mean he was an optimist who didn’t see that there were lost souls too.

The second part I liked a lot was when Scrooge first follows the second spirit. The descriptions are among the most evocative. They show Dickens’s style amazingly well.

Which was your least favorite scene?

I couldn’t think of a scene I didn’t like.
Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?

I found the third spirit and how he was described, his appearance, the most interesting. He was the most ghostly but I liked the stories and what the second spirit showed Scrooge the most. These were the stories, I think, which reached Scrooge’s heart and let it melt.
Was there a character you wish you knew more about?

I would have liked to know more about Marley. Why did he become such an embittered old man?
How did you like the end?

It’s a perfect ending, Scrooge’s joy can be felt in every line and is very contagious. It’s the illustration of the belief that people can always change as long as they are still alive. And it also shows that there are good people in the world. While Scrooge has to make an effort and change, if the others were not ready to forgive him, we wouldn’t have this happy ending.
Did you think it was believable?

I think that someone can change profoundly but maybe not in such a short time.
Do you know anyone like Scrooge?

I know people with Scrooge-like traits but nobody who is as bad as he is.
Did he deserve to be saved?

Scrooge had a heart of stone but he wasn’t treating himself any better than others which I think makes a huge difference. If he had been spending a lot, living in luxury, feasting but depriving others, I would not so easily say yes to this question but given that he didn’t harm others for his own sake or actively inflict pain, I’d say, yes, the change of attitude and sentiment is reason enough for him to be saved.

Other contributions

50 Year Project (TBM)

Dolce Bellezza (Bellezza)

Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

Polychrome Interest (Novia)

Postcards from Asia (Delia)

The Argumentative Old Git (Himadri)

The Things You Can Read  (Cynthia)Questions and Answers

The Things You Can Read Student Comments

The View From the Palace (Shimona)

Lost in the Covers (Elisa)

Leeswamme’s Blog (Judith)

Lynn’s Book Blog

Love. Laughter and a Touch of Insanity (Trish)

A Work in Progress (Danielle)

Sandra – please see comments section

Tabula Rasa (Pryia)

Slightly Cultural, Most Thoughtful and Inevitably Irrelevant (Arenel)

My Reading Journal (Ann)

Vishy’s Blog (Vishy)

Resistance is Futile (Rachel)

Too Fond of Books

Beauty is a Sleeping Cat (Caroline)

32 thoughts on “Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol – Readalong

  1. Pingback: A Christmas Carol Readalong | 50 Year Project

  2. Marley is a fascinating character and it would be awesome to know more about him. I haven’t read too many books or articles on Dickens and I have to wonder if he had a real life Marley in mind. You make an excellent point that Scrooge treated himself just as poorly. He’s such a sad character until the end. I’m so happy I was able to join this readalong. I wasn’t sure I would get my answers up in time–my life is a wee bit crazy lately. But good, happy crazy. Thanks for hosting. I’ll do my best to pop on over and visit the other bloggers. Have a wonderful weekend Caroline and if I don’t write before, Merry Christmas.

    • Thanks for joining TBM and a very Merry Christmas too you as well.
      It would be interesting if he had a real lofe Marley and Scroge in mind.
      It’s awful idea that someone knows, after he died, what a sad person he was and it’s too late now to do anything about it.

  3. This was a great idea Caroline, I will have to check out the other entries.

    I always thought that Scrooges transformation was too quick to be believable, but I suppose that in terns of drama that it could not be helped.

    • Thanks, Brian.
      Yes, it is very quick, that was my reservation. That someone can change is possible but in one night? On the other hand, seeing your old partner’s ghost and three spirits might speed up things a bit.
      Thee are already some very great contributions and the majority is still to come.

  4. I don’t believe I have read A Christmas Carol before. I have heard it read and watched plays etc. but never actually read it. So thank you for encouraging the experience. I liked it very much and found myself having a visual experience along with the reading. For some reason I think I found the scenes with the third spirit and Scrooge’s reactions to these the most effective. When Scrooge began to recognize that these were scenes with an actual connection to his past life and behavior the power of the story seemed to grow. The characters I would have liked to know more about were Mrs. Cratchit or Martha Cratchit: their perspectives might have been interesting to Scrooge also. I liked the end and I am not sure that it matters whether it was believable. Nonetheless, I found it believable and I think that is because as a reader I had invested quite strongly in Scrooge’s possible fate and both sympathized and empathized with what I could feel happening to him. I think as we get older there is little bit of Scrooge in all of us but if we examine our lives for balance and what is best for ourselves and others we can avoid some of the pitfalls that led Scrooge to a very unhappy point. And I suppose it is oversimplifying things but we all deserve to be saved.

    • Thanks so much for participating and sharing your answers.
      I think The Argumentatice Old Git made the point that he felt a bit like Scrooge sometimes. I recognized myself in a few bits too. Lucky not as bad but, yes I suppose when we grow older there are aspects of our perosnality which get hardened.
      The Cratchits are a lovely family, hearing more about them would have been interesting as well.
      I really agree about the visual experience. Dickens paints with words, I find his writing very evocative.

  5. This is the great bit when taking part in a readalong – checking out everyone’s answers and kicking yourself over things you’d forgotten or sharing in similar feelings and experiences. I enjoyed reading your answers – particularly the first question – I never really thought about how Marley is beyond redemption – not to mention all the other poor souls who we read about!
    Lynn 😀
    BTW – wasn’t sure where to include my link? I’ve included it below – but feel free to move or delete this!!
    Thanks for hosting this with Delia.

    • Thanks for participating, Lynn.
      I agree, it’s great to see what the others say, that’s why I liked the idea of the questions, because I like to see what others thought about the exact same aspect.
      The first time I read it, it didn’t occur to me that poor Marley really is in some sort of hell. Scrooge is lucky compared to him.

  6. I didn’t readalong this time, but I sort of remember the book from when I read it, several years ago now. I completely agree that it would be great to know more about Marley. There’s an excellent idea for a novel for some clever contemporary writer!

    • I just saw on Lizzy’s blog the other day that there is a book called Havisham which seems excellent, so, yes, indeed there would be something to write based on Marley.
      He seems to have been worse even than Scrooge.

  7. Pingback: Dickens in December – A Christmas Carol read-along | Postcards from Asia

  8. It’s “Inevitably” =) “Slightly Cultural, Most Thoughtful and Inevitably Irrelevant” is the name of the blog) But it’s OK) Thanks for hosting a readalong, I had fun answering the questions! And now I’ll have even more fun reading the others’ answers!

  9. We seem to agree on most of the answers. I also think Marley is an interesting character that I’d like to know more about.

    The description of the third spirit was indeed fascinating. Such a dark and mysterious character that refuses to say a word!

    • Yes, we did.
      Most people had other favorite scenes or charcaters they were interested in and we both thought it was a speedy change.
      In any case, I liked it and it’s interesting to see the different reactions.

  10. Catching up on my reading and I’m sorry to have missed the read along. Do you know, I’ve never read A Christmas Carol? Probably because I feel I know the story so well already. But it was interesting that you said you’d first read it a few years ago and had a different reaction to it. That just goes to show that even though the words on the page are static, books change over time because we do. There have been times when I didn’t like a book at all and wonder if I come back to it, if I would enjoy it more.
    I also think you made a great point about Marley being a sympathetic character because he was not living in the lap of luxury. He didn’t think himself better than the people around him and so the reader can buy into his reformation and cheer for him. I will have to remember that when I am writing my characters!

    Have a Merry Christmas, Caroline!

    • I think you’d be surprised to see that although you know the story, it still has a lot to offer.
      I find it’s a big difference, that he doesn’t allow himself any joy, compared to other characters who are treating themselves but not others.
      I know people like that, never enjoy anything but they don’t even notice it.
      I wish you and Reggie and Merry Christmas as well.

  11. Pingback: Christmas Carol Special « Polychrome Interest

  12. Nice answers, Caroline.
    I just visited Judith’s post and it seems both of you are wondering about Marley.

    I can see from your answers that you really like the book!

    I actually have downloaded its free pdf-file … but I think I will not read it anytime soon because I once again failed in my Dickens’ reading attempt 😦

    • Maybe he really isn’t the author for you. I think A Christmas carol is the best place to start though. The descriptions are great. Of course there is no more supense once you know the story but it’s still quite different from the movies.

  13. Liked your answers very much, Caroline. That Marley ghost scene is definitely spooky. It would have definitely been interesting to find out more about Marley. I liked very much what you said about why Scrooge deserved to be saved. Thanks for hosting this readalong, Caroline. I enjoyed it very much.

    • Thanks, Vishy, and thanks for participating. It’s when I tried to answer the questio that I realized for the first time how hard he was on himself too. The moment he started to enjoy life, he could be good too.

    • Yes, that’s right. I think most of us focussed on the fact how fast the chnage was and forgot about the visitation. I think that would really accelerate things.
      Thanks for participating and the link, Rachel.

  14. It was a perfect ending; I loved how Scrooge was shown the error of his ways and still had time to correct them. Lucky Scrooge; I’m sad for those who die bittered and worthless (like Marley?)

    Thanks so much for co-hosting this! It added immensely to my December.

    • I’m glad to hear it, Bellezza and thanks for joining us.
      I think there are people who die bitter and that certainly is a very sad thing.
      One should read A Christmas Carol at least every ten years and see how one compares.

  15. Pingback: Dickens in December – Wrap up « Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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