Christmas Carol

Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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Overview

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553897050
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/26/2002
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 301,557
File size: 220 KB

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city–cold, isolated with barely enough to eat–haunted him for the rest of his life.

When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) complete his major works.

Dickens’s marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day’s work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day.


From the Paperback edition.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Education:

Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

Read an Excerpt

MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often 'came down' handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, 'My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was 'oclock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'no eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'

But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call 'nuts' to Scrooge.

Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement-stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

From the Paperback edition.

Table of Contents

Coldhearted Ebenezer Scrooge has no use for Christmas cheer. He rejects a dinner invitation from his jolly nephew, scolds charity workers, and very begrudgingly allows his clerk a day off. All the warmth and joy of the holiday are humbug to Scrooge until Jacob Marley, his long-dead business partner, pays a call. Marley's spirit is the first in a series of ghostly visitors who offer visions of the past, present, and future—warnings that transform a bitter old miser into a charitable and compassionate man.
First published in 1843, A Christmas Carol was an instant success and has remained a holiday favorite ever since. The story has been adapted many times for stage and screen, but no version surpasses the sheer delight of Charles Dickens's original novella. As much a part of the season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this immortal tale continues to charm readers with its message of generosity and goodwill.
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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This Penguin Christmas Classics edition is so pretty it could double as a holiday centerpiece!” —People

“For lit nerds and loved ones who are notoriously hard to shop for, you can’t go wrong with these festively bound classics. . . . Their size makes them perfectly stocking-stuffable.” —Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List”
 
“Leave it to the folks at Penguin—who gave us Gothed-out editions of horror classics for Halloween—to package these . . . slim Yuletide-themed volumes.” —Newsday, “Best Books to Give as Holiday Gifts”
 
“Remember how Christmas was celebrated before Black Friday with these 19th-century authors, in small uniform volumes wrapped in pretty jackets.” —USA Today, “Holiday Gift Books So Pretty, No Need to Wrap”
 
“Beautifully designed.” —The Washington Post

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.'"  —Sunday Express

"It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending."  —Times

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for An Atlas of Impossible Longing includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, Pip is an orphaned young werewolf living with his ill-tempered sister and her gentle husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One fateful night, visiting his parents’ grave under the full moon, Pip encounters a frightening stranger—another werewolf and a convict no less. Too afraid to do anything other than obey the stranger’s instruction, Pip helps this convict and sets in motion of chain of events that will forever change the course of his life. Pip is sent to reside with Miss Havisham, a vampire who was sired and left on her wedding day by the one she loved. She has adopted Estella and raised her as a vampire slayer, to seek revenge on the supernatural creatures that she blames for her ruin. Pip, in awe of Estella’s beauty, falls instantly in love with her despite the fact that she has been trained to hate all “Scapegraces.” When an anonymous benefactor sends Pip to London to become a gentleman, he believes it is his chance to win Estella’s hand. The question that lies ahead is whether Pip will be able to overcome his wolfish ways and turn his once grave expectations for himself into great ones.

TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In Pip’s world, the term “Scapegraces” is used to define “those of a supernatural sort” (p. 11). What do you think this term implies about the way that creatures like werewolves and vampires were viewed in this society?

2. On page 12, Pip wonders, “Was it a crime to merely be different?” While being a werewolf is simply a condition inherited at birth, vampires prey on the living to increase their population, and yet are “considered civilized and welcome to mix in society.” Is one creature more monstrous than the other? Do both werewolves and vampires have the capacity for good and evil?

3. After being invited to Miss Havisham’s and then later learning of his anonymous benefactor, Pip often feels ashamed of his roots, and of Joe’s commonness even more so than his own Scapegrace status. Yet Joe never seems to exhibit any embarrassment over Pip’s wolfishness. What does this say about each of their characters? What influences the focus of Pip’s shame?

4. When Mrs. Joe dies (the first time), Pip finds what he knows to be evidence of Magwitch’s crime, but he still does not accuse him. Why do you think Pip believes that Magwitch is innocent of this crime when the main piece of evidence points directly to him?

5. Throughout most of the story, Estella is cold-hearted and shows no affection for Pip despite his unwavering love for her. Why should he love someone who could possibly end up killing him in her crusade against Scapegraces? What makes him fall in love with her in the first place? Why do you think Pip continues to pursue someone who will never return his feelings?

6. Pip and Herbert have a very special friendship. Do you think this brotherly love grew out of the wolfish need to be part of a pack? Or something more human?

7. While Miss Havisham is herself a vampire, she has trained Estella in the ways of vampire slaying. Pip wonders “if Miss Havisham weren’t really wishing to be staked by Estella one day in raising her to such an art” (p. 235). Do you agree? Do you think Miss Havisham’s eventual outcome either supports or refutes this opinion? Why does Estella never stake her, if indeed her mission is to kill vampires?

8. Pip is horrified when he finds out the Magwitch has been his anonymous benefactor all along. Why do you think this revelation is so abhorrent to Pip, when he seems so willing to not only protect Magwitch and keep him safe, but to also protect his feelings by not revealing his disappointment?

9. On page 284, Pip explains to Miss Havisham that there are certain Scapegraces who “showed more humanity than the humans.” Discuss which of the Scapegraces behave with the utmost humanity, and which of the human characters exhibit what could be categorized as monstrous behavior?

10. How does the discovery of Estella’s parentage change things for Pip? Does it change your opinion of her?

11. Why is it so easy for Joe and Biddy to forgive Pip after he had neglected them for so many years? Should Joe have been angry that Pip spent so much time visiting Magwitch after he was captured, when he never kept up his visits to Joe like he had promised?

12. Though Estella is able to eventually see the goodness in werewolves, she never changes her opinion of vampires. Why do you think she can pardon and accept most Scapegraces and still seek vengeance against vampires?

ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB

1. Grave Expectations is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Have you read Great Expectations before? If so, how did the supernatural version compare to the classic? What remained the same in this new version of the story? What changed? If not, choose Great Expectations for your next book club pick.

2. Grave Expectations is a literary mash-up—where a fictional classic is retold in present day or with mythical substitutions. Examples include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the movie Clueless, which was essentially Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills during the 1990s. Try creating a literary mash-up of your own with your book club. Pick a favorite classic and retell the story as though it took place in the present day or with some supernatural characters. The more imaginative, the better!

3. Legends of werewolves and vampires have been carried down through the centuries. How does their depiction in this work compare with your preconceived notions of such supernatural creatures?

Customer Reviews

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A Christmas Carol 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 571 reviews.
Drake7137 More than 1 year ago
Do you celebrate Christmas? Well if you don't your on the same level as Scrooge the main character of A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens created a true masterpiece when he wrote A Christmas Carol, telling a story of a man who had to decide what is right to change his future. This fictitious story really gets the gears in your head turning. Scrooge is a very mean man in 1800s London. His business partner, Marley, dies at the very beginning of the story and later visits scrooge as a ghost. He tells Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts. The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. They take him through different parts of his life. All three have different personalities. Charles Dickens gives great details of the characters without telling you directly. Throughout the whole story Charles dickens keeps you wanting more of the story line and makes sense with the book. Overall it's a great book with sophisticated words, and I would recommend this book for all readers.
WearingPlaid More than 1 year ago
I read this book every year around the holidays and really enjoy it every time. I have seen many versions of the story such as Scrooge and a Christmas Carol in movies but nothing beats the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enhanced means : Intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value or extent of. So by an enhanced book they probably mean that it has error-text, no huge spaces between paragraphs. Stuff like that. It just means that they fixed it up so that you can enjoy it more. By the way, this is an amazing book. You should get it. Hope that i was of assistance to you.
Bobaloo2u2 More than 1 year ago
It was a nice holiday story to finish out Christmas season. What was really nice was being able to listen to the audio and hear the story behind the story.
ClaireAnnette More than 1 year ago
I love this book and the style of writing (Charles Dickens did, after all, write this in the 19th century) Eerie...and I was surprised by the way it really made me feel chills! But this book isn't just about the ghosts, it has a great moral of the story with a nice ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this enchanced version, added more insight about the author. Enjoyed this classic book very much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The audiobook mentioned was a selling point for me. It isn't a file, but a text internet address on the very last page of the ebook that the nook does not recognize as a hyperlink. Apparently this guy Sam Ngo went and found the free ebook with illustrations and also found a free audiobook file on an archive website somewhere and wrote out the file's internet address on the last page of the book and epub'd it. You would have to look up the file online from your computer, download the audiobook and physically hook up your nook to transfer the file from your computer to your nook. So why pay this guy 1.99? Just go out and find the free files yourself. Probably deleting this. Oh and you have to laugh when the guy says "money back guaranteed... just email us" and then he doesn't give you and email address.
Roger15 More than 1 year ago
Just in time for the Christmas Holiday. We really enjoyed it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great for everyone
queenvalerie More than 1 year ago
For as often as I've seen the movies, I've never read the book and decided that this was the time to change that. A quick read, I only 200 pages on my Nook, but I was enthrall end with each word and quite surprised by how funny it was! Dickens isn't exactly famous for his sense of humor but the warmth, compassion and empathy that you really only see all in a rush at the end of te movie, has a chance to build slowly but surely in the book. Do yourself a favor - pick this one up and read it. I'm sure I'll read it again every Christmas season.
pooh28 More than 1 year ago
I love the story Christmas Carol and have it in every media you can get by everyone you can think of from the muppets to albert finney, but had never read the book so when I got my NOOK tablet for Christmas and so this I said it time to read the book or at least listen and I did both and it is still the most wonderful story at Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best christmas book ever its a great classic book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Introduction by Hal Moroz is a Blessing! It not only brings this wonderful Christmas classic by Charles Dickens back to life, it reminds us of the reason for the season! I highly recommend it to every family that wants to live the Christmas Spirit not only on December 25th, but throughout the year!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you don't know about this book you should read it! It is full of christmas spirt and joy. Any kid or grown up will Love this book greatly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay but it was good over all. But it didn't really keep my atention at all, most of the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a really good book and if you are not sure about the qaulity of the book then dont worry it is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it wss a good book. I liked him being good instead of bad aka Ebenezer Scrooge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Bah! Humbug!” Set in Victorian England, this classic Christmas tale of reclamation and redemption by Charles Dickens features Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter, greedy old miser, who is visited by the specter of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Dickens skillfully weaves the story of Scrooge’s life through the visits of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and in the end we all learn that the true meaning of Christmas is love, joy, and brotherhood for our fellow man. Dickens is a masterful storyteller, and Christmas Carol is a masterful tale well worth the read. Rebecca E.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book Frightening, sadness, and calmness all at the same time. ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book itself is great, however this ebook copy is terrible and filled with errors, its almost unreadable
lani142 More than 1 year ago
Good classic read for the holidays. Love the linked chapter contexts in the front of the book.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This book is creepy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get up from praticing my putonus and call my freinds over to see the reindeer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book!