Just before Christmas 1843, Karol Dickens’s “Christmas Tale” appeared. The book gave the author the title of “the man who invented Christmas,” as the British press describes him.
The story begins one cold and dark Christmas day. The main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, the owner of one of London’s money changers, is famous for his avarice, his only virtue is wealth, and the measure of human value is the wealth of his wallet.
Bob Cratchit, the father of a large family, works in Scrooge’s office, who earns him barely enough to make a living. He freezes at the desktop and dreams of lighting a fireplace, but the boss, out of savings, does not agree to it.
The festive atmosphere is trying to bring to life his uncle Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, inviting him to dinner, but the uncle refuses, he thinks that the relative is waiting for his fortune.
I don’t celebrate Christmas myself and I can’t afford to make my loafers more pleasant. Merry Christmas. I have an idea too! What is your right to be happy? What are your basics for this? Such a poor man!
– these Scoorge issues have entered the book of the most famous English quotes.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge brutally throws the people asking for meals
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge brutally throws the people asking for meals for the poor and sends the office home without payment. When he falls asleep in his cold (because he saves on heating) apartment, in a dream ghosts haunt him.
The first to appear is Jakub Marley, Scrooge’s partner who died seven years earlier, who, as it turns out, pays for his miseriness and lack of empathy towards his fellow men.
Then Ebenezer is visited by other ghosts: Old Christmas, The Spirit of Christmas and the Spirit of Christmas. They show the hero scenes from his past, present and future life.
A lonely boy
They recall childhood when Scrooge was a gentle, very lonely boy, intimidated by a drunkard’s father, showing people whom he had harmed, opening the doors of shelters, hospitals, prisons to him where debtors are sitting. And the spirit of the future shows him that if he is so stingy and insensible, he will die alone and no one will come to his grave.
In the morning Scrooge wakes up changed internally. He is glad that life has given him a chance to correct mistakes, he goes to his nephew for a holiday breakfast, the employee sends a turkey for dinner. After meeting ghosts, he becomes a different person who understands that money can only bring happiness if you know how to share it.
Dickens’ booklet appeared at a time when interest in the old traditions of Christmas was growing in England
Dickens’ booklet appeared at a time when interest in the old traditions of Christmas was growing in England, while at the same time new customs appeared. Queen Viktoria, of German origin, contributed to the spread of the habit of dressing a Christmas tree, and the first Christmas postcards also appeared during this period.
The images of poverty and unhappiness contained in the “Christmas Carol” are fairly realistic descriptions of English reality in the era of the industrial revolution. Hundreds of thousands of villagers had to look for jobs in modern factories emerging like mushrooms after rain, but their working and living conditions called for vengeance to heaven.
Dickens has experienced the cruelty of capitalism in a hard way.
Dickens has experienced the cruelty of capitalism in a hard way. In 1824, his father was imprisoned for debts, and 12-year-old Karol had to leave school and go to work in a shoe polish factory to contribute to the maintenance of his seven siblings. He also worked there after releasing his father because the family’s situation was very unhappy.
The writer, who had experience of poverty and hard work, was interested in the location of the poorest, especially children.
In early 1843, Dickens visited the Cornish tin mines, where he witnessed child labor in inhumane conditions. The phenomenon of gainful employment of the youngest was so widespread in England at that time that in February 1943 the parliament prepared a special report on this subject.
Dickens, touched by the fate of small employees, he originally planned to write a pamphlet revealing the hypocrisy of the rich, but he gave up this idea. Instead, the “Christmas Tale” was created.
When did he started writing?
Dickens began writing it in September 1843 and finished it in the first days of December. The writer was in a very difficult financial situation at that time, he had debts, his wife was expecting another child and he was counting on the proceeds from the new story.
The first circulation was 6,000. copies, each cost five shillings. His book was widely admired, readers reacted very emotionally. And even accidents were recorded when owners of workplaces agreed to read days off for employees and grant them pay increases.“Christmas Carol” has a huge number of stage adaptations and about 30 film adaptations. To this day, it remains the most famous tale referring to the Christmas tradition.
About Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was born on exactly February 7, 1812, in British Landport. His father worked as an admiralty clerk. Twelve years after his son’s birth, he was imprisoned for unpaid debts. The deprived of livelihoods quickly fell into poverty.
Young Dickens employed a shoe polish factory to help his relatives, which he later turned into a judicial office. At the same time, he studied and tried to write. In the mid-1830s he became famous as the author of the “Sketches of God” collection. Shortly afterward, in 1836, the first episode of his novel “Pickwick Club” appeared. When the last episode of the series was published in 1837, there was no doubt that Dickens wrote a bestseller.
The success made Charles, who was 25 at the time, decided to take up literary activities for good. In the following years, he published the famous “Oliver Twist” (1837-1838). And shortly thereafter the novels “Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” (1838-1839). “Magazine of curiosities” (1840-1841), “Barnaba Rudge” (1841) and “Martin Chuzzlewit” (1843-1844). Until his death in 1870, Dickens published ten more novels, including the famous “David Copperfield”.
Today, he is considered one of the greatest representatives of the social and moral novel in nineteenth-century Great Britain. The book gave the author the title of “the man who invented Christmas,” as the British press describes him.