I am reading Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” about the restoration of pre-Cromwell Christmas in Victorian England, and of course about generosity and giving to the poor. I think I’m going to read this every Christmas. It’s so soulful and incredibly well-written.
It strikes me that Dickens, an Anglican, dabbled in Unitarianism, because of their concern for the poor, and their commitment to the abolition of slavery.
His writing is brilliant. This sentence amused me so much I reread it several times:
“The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, I tell you, by a hand. Not the curtains at his feet, nor the curtains at his back, but those to which is face was addressed. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside; and Scrooge, starting up into a half recumbent attitude, found himself face-to-face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it now as I am to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.”
150 years later Dickens invokes his own presence in my own living room in Texas as I read his book on my couch in front of the tree, with the dog curled up beside me. Such a writer.
I was also amused at his low opinion of American securities, understandable in 1843:
“This was a great relief, because ‘three days after sight of this first of exchange pay to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge or his order,’ and so forth, would have become a mere United States’ security if they were no dates to come by.”
Dickens’ father was sent to debt prison when Dickens was 12. Dickens was forced to work in a factory as a child. This tragedy and his exposure to poverty, child labor and the poor working conditions of 19th century England shaped his perspective.
It also hit me, the Ignatian exercises that have you reflect on your life mirror this story. Considering in a deep manner his past, his present and his future, the main character is led to make different life choices.