by Sandra Merville Hart
With Christmas just around the corner, I read Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Christmas Carol, and discovered at least three reasons why his story is a beloved classic.
The first thing I noticed are the engaging descriptions that bring depth and meaning to the story. He paints vivid pictures of the settings and characters in a way that captures the reader’s imagination.
The many beautiful images made it difficult to choose an example to illustrate this point. One that made me smile was Dickens’ comments about Scrooge’s nephew:
If you should happen, by any unlikely chance, to know a man more blest in a laugh than Scrooge’s nephew, all I can say is, I should like to know him, too. Introduce him to me, and I’ll cultivate his acquaintance.
Simple yet vivid descriptions fill the classic tale.
Dickens also writes about realistic characters. At first glance, Scrooge comes across as a stingy boss who refuses an invitation to a family Christmas dinner and a request to give to the poor. He only grudgingly grants his clerk Christmas Day off.
The writer then tells Scrooge’s back story in a creative way. Ghostly journeys into Christmas Past reveal a boy alone in a boarding school when all his classmates go home for Christmas. The sight touches our hearts.
Dickens also includes timeless truths in his tale of a lonely, unhappy old man. Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit, maintains an optimistic outlook despite his anxiety over his son’s health. Tiny Tim’s faith and courage touches everyone around him. Scrooge’s nephew forgives his uncle for rejecting his family.
The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge two imminent deaths if nothing changes—one deeply mourned and one barely noticed.
Dickens’ novel lives on in our hearts. Some reasons for this are his engaging descriptions, realistic characters, and timeless truths. The story vividly reminds us how one life affects another.
A timeless tale.