To close out my cannonball, I thought it’d be seasonally appropriate to revisit a Christmas classic. I say “revisit” even though I had never before read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but due to its cultural ubiquity I felt like I have. Like most people I’ve seen multiple adaptations of the story, from the Reginald Owens and Alistair Sim black-and-white movies to Michael Caine with the Muppets and the tragically typecast Scrooge McDuck in the Disney version, I’ve seen them all. So in reading the novella I was mostly interested to see if the original version contained any surprises for one so familiar with the story.
Honestly, and this is a credit to the strength of Dickens’ version, but there really aren’t any surprises. The vast majority of adaptations have wisely stayed faithful to the construction and even the prose of the original. So, as in every version, you’ll hear Ebeneezer’s “Bah, humbug!” and his “Are there no workhouses?” And you’ll meet the same three spirits that countless actors have, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, along with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, who does not die.
Though the plot can hold no surprise, there is joy to be found in the prose. Who but Charles Dickens could have come up with Scrooge’s protestations to the Ghost of Christmas Future: “Are these the shadows of things that will be, or are they the shadows of things that may be, only?”