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Ebenezer Scrooge—The real spirit of Christmas

 
Person445
The West Coast Truth

User ID: 11438968
Canada
12/23/2012 12:19 PM

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Ebenezer Scrooge—The real spirit of Christmas
Few traditions at this time of year are as enduring as watching the 1951 movie A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sim. I cite the movie, not Charles Dickens’s original story, for two reasons. First, we live in a post-literate age where reading as a pasttime now comes a distant fourth to movies, TV and video games.

Second, unlike most book-to-film adaptations, the film is widely acknowledged to be better than the book despite some arbitrary rewriting, like changing Scrooge's fiancée from “Belle” to “Alice” and giving her a less happy future.

Dickens threw the story together in a few weeks in late 1843 to make some quick cash, and as such it feels hurried. It’s short—only five chapters—and follows a simple template: Prologue (“Marley's Ghost”); Body (“The First of the Three Spirits, “The Second of the Three Spirits,’ and “The Last of the Spirits”); and Conclusion (“The End of It”).

The story is so familiar that only the briefest sketch is needed. One Christmas Eve, a miserly moneylender named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the damned ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge that he still has time to save his soul by changing his miserly ways. To help with his redemption, Marley foretells the coming of three spirit guides.

We then follow Scrooge as he is led systematically through Christmases past, present and future, and forced to see himself as others see him, as well as witness the consequences of unbridled selfishness. After these nightmarish peregrinations, Scrooge wakes up the next morning “born again” as a fully functioning moral being, the apotheosis of the man he was.

Unfortunately, the redemption of Scrooge comes across as artificial and pat. Why should Dickens create a powerful amoral character only to destroy him, literally overnight? Granted, there is nothing estimable in miserliness or contempt for the less fortunate, but if the redemption is to have any value, Scrooge the miser must be treated with some measure of respect, not as a craven, quivering, weenie who caves in at the least provocation.

Despite its renown and popularity, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is trite and predictable, because Scrooge is less a character than he is a plot device designed to get us to the treacly ending. The 1951 movie retains this ending but Noel Langley’s screen adaptation surpasses Dickens’ story by giving Scrooge needed dimension:

[link to www.gregfelton.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 14650951
Canada
12/24/2012 07:56 AM
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Re: Ebenezer Scrooge—The real spirit of Christmas
bump
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 30618800
Canada
12/24/2012 08:03 AM
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Re: Ebenezer Scrooge—The real spirit of Christmas
Bah humbug! It's a Christmas story of redemption. Enjoy it for what it is. It doesn't need disecting or over analysing.
In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone."
rose
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User ID: 25632492
Belgium
12/25/2012 08:26 AM
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Re: Ebenezer Scrooge—The real spirit of Christmas
Nice post, OP.
bump this for interest !

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