Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A comment on Scrooge

I have started reading Christmas Books by Charles Dickens, a thick volume of various long and very short stories all collected because of a Christmas theme. Naturally you start at A Christmas Carol in Prose - the classic story of Scrooge and I thought before I post about the content it would be wise to clarify Scrooge.

All of my assumptions about Scrooge are based on vague recollections of being told the story as a child and the various film adaptations. In the traditional films Ebeneezer Scrooge is either played in a quasi-comic manner that culminates in him becoming the friendliest person in London (Alistair Sim version) or gets the Shakespearian treatment and goes from cold hearted villain to warm hero (Patrick Stewart version). I know that makes it sound like Hamlet the point is there are different ways of playing the role.

What is interesting is that by the end of chapter one in the book Dickens has painted a picture of a man who is neither comic nor particularly tragic but someone who simply doesn’t care. “Humbug” is not just something he would say to Christmas but to helping the poor, his family and his clerk. He is a grumpy person who has become so miserly he prefers the dark because it is cheap.

I will get stuck into the story and post thoughts about that tomorrow but felt that for tonight at least some sort of view on Scrooge made sense.

More about the classic story tomorrow…