Friday, December 12, 2008

A Christmas Carol

In the spare bedroom, tucked away in the walk-in closet, stands a large bookshelf. This bookshelf we have owned since before my birth and is sturdy enough to hold an elaborate amount of weights. Currently it is a storage unit for all of our DVDs and the VHS tapes we still keep. And somewhere amongst this stash is a VHS tape that has TV recordings on it. You know, from back in the day where recording your favorite TV show or movie wasn't a big illegal issue.
On this tape is a list of childhood cartoons about Christmas. Eurekas Castle, the Care Bears, all of my favorites.

And tucked somewhere in this tape is also the Mickey's Christmas Carol. I have watched this since I can remember and it is still a favorite of mine. In my lifetime, this little thirty minute Christmas show was my introduction to Dickens classic. Most of my childhood I had know A Christmas Carol to be the telling as seen in the Mickey's version.

When I got older, I was introduced to The Muppet's Christmas Carol. This one not only had my beloved Muppet's but singing too! For days I would walk around my house with the songs stuck in my head and even now I do the same thing. I love that movie! It makes me happy the entire way through and brings me back to a more simpler time in my life- my childhood.

Now there are a number of other interpretations of this beloved classic. Many books from many different ages. Silent films, made for TV movies, major motion pictures. There are a few where Scrooge is actually a woman, others that are set in the present day, and a number that are attempting to capture what Dickens had written to a T. But Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Muppet's Christmas Carol are definitely my two favorites.

Let's skip a few years ahead to the year I was in the 8th grade. That year I had been assigned to read A Christmas Carol in English class. This is where my opinion of the book really begins. When I was a little 13-year-old and had this book presented to me I didn't really know what to make of it.

The language was so hard for my young uneducated brain. Many of the references I didn't understand and a great number of the words I didn't even know. Due to my memorization of The Muppet's Christmas Carol I had assumed that there were two Marley's- not one.

I struggled to make it through the book and had joined the general consensus of my classmates that it 'sucked' and we were 'bored'. All we wanted to do was get to the end of the book so we could watch a filmed version of it. The book was just so long, it had too many hard words, and it was just so tiring and boring I found no really good reason as to why we should be stuck reading it.

Well I felt a sudden urge this Christmas season, nine years after my first read of A Christmas Carol, to reread the classic and see how my 22-year-old mind took it all.

What I had shocked me was that the book is actually quite short. My copy of A Christmas Carol comes in a bound book with two other stories added to the mix. There is a lengthy introduction with a list of important dates before you even get to A Christmas Carol and by that time you're already on page 8. The book ends by page 88. So it was only 80 pages long with only five chapters. To think that nine years ago I found this book to be so long!

Aside from that I was surprised as to how easy the read was. The words were simple, I understood them all, and I took note that if I can make it through Jane Austen with grace I surely can make it through Dickens (who was born long after Austen began to write!).

Pushing all shocks of how my reading habits have developed in nearly ten years- I enjoy it. It has a classic moral of the story type of plot which is a lesson all people should learn. It's especially appropriate most at Christmas time. If you're greedy and snub no one will ever prosper because of you- you yourself will end up cold and alone in the end (much like Scrooge's possible future). You can't help but think a few seconds longer if you really want to pass by the bell ringing volunteer of the Salvation Army as you walk into a store after reading this tale.

During the cold winter months near a celebrated and beloved holiday where people give gifts to one another the idea that there are those out there who are less fortunate pulls on the heart strings. Seeing the horrors that Scrooge beholds makes it a little more clear that we should all take what we have into perspective. They're blessings, really, that we have the opportunity to have so much. We should try, if we are capable, to help those less fortunate. Don't they deserve the warm blessings we adore so much also? And we can only hope that God might bless us, every one.

Next Book Up:
The Tale of Despereaux

1 comment:

  1. How funny! I just said to myself today that I wanted to read the Christmas Carol. I think it is a sign.


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