Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Carol

I think you would agree with me, that Christmas is the most festive days in a year—whether you celebrate it or not. Christmas is identical with sparkling of lights, thus representing a season full of laughter and joy. It’s hard to not being happy during Christmas, why, with all the cakes, ornaments, gifts…and holiday of course! But, it does not work out the same for a sour and stingy man named Scrooge. Well, sometimes name does speak of everything about a man, right?

Scrooge dedicates his life solely for his business. He doesn’t care about Christmas; he even hates Christmas because it is a time when he cannot make much money. So, on that day before Christmas he rejected his nephew’s invitation for a family Christmas dinner, then rejected a man who asked for donation and sent him away. He also scowled at his clerk who asked for a half day off, and instead asked him to come earlier on Christmas day! What a miserly man...scrooge!

But on that eve of Christmas, Scrooge got a surprise. His late business partner who has passed away seven years ago—Marley, ‘came’ visiting Scrooge at his apartment. When approaching his room, Scrooge saw a shadowy image of Marley’s face on his door knocker… It’s a phantom! Marley’s ghost! At first Scrooge got scared, and all he would have said is: “Humbug!”, meaning ‘nonsense’, which seems being one of Scrooge’s favorite word! However, it did not take too long before the phantom made Scrooge believe in it. But why did Marley haunt his ex-partner?

the illustration of Marley's ghost and Scrooge

Apparently, Marley wanted to tell his friend that he regretted what he had not done during his short life, years ago. Marley did not realize then, that the most important thing in life was not business and wealth, and that he had misused his opportunity of life given to him. Now it is too late for him to reconcile them, not when he is only a ghost. So, Marley came to tell Scrooge that, in order to give him a second chance of life, Three Spirits would haunt him starting from the next night when the bell tolled One. It will be followed by the second and third visits the following consecutive nights at the same hour. And then...Marley's ghost faded...

In no time Scrooge fell a sleep, only to woke up abruptly when the bell tolled. Oops, it’s one o’clock already! And there it came, the first ghost who called itself The Ghost of Christmas Past. As promised by Marley, this ghost was followed by two more, The Ghost of Christmas Present and…. (can you guess from the pattern?)...The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come! Each of them took Scrooge to different time sets of his life.

First, The Ghost of Christmas Past took Scrooge to his past life, three past Christmases. From these scenes, you will have clues to what might have changed Scrooge from once a lovable boy to the bitter man he is now. I think sometimes we ought also to review our own life like Scrooge did. That way we can see how far we have transformed from the kind and lovable child we used to be, to what we are at present. Then we will know what was going wrong with our life, so that we will be able to resolve it.

The second turn, The Ghost of Christmas Present took Scrooge to the lives of people surround him. First they visited Bob Cratchit's (the clerk) poor house. On that Christmas, Bob's son--Tiny Tim, was cripple and ill, and he might not be able to see the next Christmas, because his father cannot afford to buy the required medicament from his little salary. Nevertheless, they all live happily, love each other, and especially that night, they had a merry Christmas with what they can afford. The ghost also took Scrooge to his nephew Fred's Christmas party. The party Scrooge had rejected the invitation earlier that day. The party which turned out to be very entertaining, that Scrooge himself enjoyed the games and the singing. Of course, out of the sights of the others!

The most terrifying part of this book is, perhaps, the visit of The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Taking the form of a black hooded spirit, The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come showed Scrooge things that were going to happen in the future. Things that scared Scrooge enough to promise that he will change his life. What scenes had Scrooge seen this time? And did those Three Spirits succeeded in convincing Scrooge to resolve his life? And how will he do that? Will he still get a chance to have a very merry Christmas?

This story is really simple. Dickens wants to remind us about love, passion, warmth, and kindness that are the true value of Christmas. But above that, Dickens also wants to show us that Christmas is not just about prosperity (expensive gifts, luxury hotels, fine foods), but more on the charity, acceptance and forgiveness. On the other hand, a party will bring joy only when you enjoy it among your loved ones. The atmosphere of British traditional Christmas in 19h century has been beautifully described with all the details in this book. This book is also included in the 50 Books That Changed The World (by Andrew Taylor), for creating the basic of Christmas tradition that is continuing until now.

So in conclusion, there's nothing wrong with being a serious and responsible adult. But, don't be too carried away--like Scrooge, that you forget the love and tenderness in you. It’s OK to be childish sometimes! Especially on a special day like Christmas....

Four stars for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.


This time I read an e-book version (no translation is available yet). I like it, but unfortunately it doesn't come with an attractive cover (the one I put here is the color version). I searched through Goodreads and found two lovely covers that I think would be most suitable for this book. Here they are..

Hopefully one of our publishers will publish the translated version of this book in one of these covers!

Finally, have a merry Christmas for you who celebrate it, and a happy new and prosperous year of 2012!

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: Sony Connect Inc.
e-book source: The Pennsylvania State University, 1998
Published: 2007
e-pages: 100


  1. Pilihan katanya gimana mba? susah nggak? mengingat ini buku klasik. :D
    Aku suka animasinya.:D

  2. aku belum pernah baca bukunya Sih Mbak, tapi tahun lalu sempet nonton versi filmnya. seru. ampe aku tonton berkali-kali. bukunya pasti lebih seru.. :D

  3. @Aleetha: ilustrasinya bukan dari buku, Ally. Aku comot dari wiki, hehe... Kalau pilihan katannya, banyak kata2 yg klasik, jadi harus lihat di kamus. Tapi yg bikin mikir, kalimatnya yg panjang. Trus dialognya kadang bikin bingung karena gak jelas siapa yg sedang ngomong. Tapi gaya penulisan om Dickens memang keren sih

  4. @Alvina: Aku malah belum nonton filmnya, hehe..

  5. Aku nonton filmnya dulu aja ah, hehehe :)

  6. You know, I develop another 'hobbies' wanna read the English and translation edition at the same time, then watching movies adaptation too hahaha, you know what the words "curiosities can kill a cat?' --- I think my curiosities will 'eating-me-up' by so many title I wanna read and watch it :D

    1. Gramedia has promised once to translate this, but I think they don't really care about classics pieces anymore...sadly!


What do you think?