This post contains an affiliate link.A Christmas Carol!
If you don't have the book yet, you can get it for free on Kindle, or even download the text of it on Project Gutenberg! I've been known to print out way too many pages from Project Gutenberg before =)
Just so you know, I am not planning on outlining the plot of each chapter, or going through the book page by page in these posts. I am going to pull out interesting quotes and ideas that I want to work through, and discuss them with you! Please feel free to add to the discussion by leaving comments below or linking up a post that you have written about the book.
You can also join our live discussion on facebook! We will be discussing live at 1pm EST for the next few Fridays, or you can always still go back and add your thoughts to the discussion afterwards. I will be popping in throughout the week to keep the conversation going. (Here is the schedule for the life chats on the rest of the book.) Psst. I've got some bonus goodies for those who join in on facebook!
For a one-line synopsis of this chapter, the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to visit Scrooge and shows him glimpses of Christmas memories from years past.
The description of the ghost was sure detailed and very interesting! I thought about trying to draw it based on the description, but didn't think I could do it justice ;)
It seems like Scrooge has been shutting out memories and the Ghost is here to remind him. I think this quote (page 39 in my book, when Scrooge wants the ghost to put his cap on to shut out the light) give us a lot to think about:
"Would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not enough that you are of those whose passions made this cap and force me through the whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow?"
This makes me wonderful who exactly this Ghost is. Does anybody know? Obviously I know this is a work of fiction, but who is he supposed to be? Is he just Scrooge's memory, personified? Is Scrooge basically telling himself to stop remembering and his memory is telling him to stop repressing the memories?
So then, they begin their journey back in time. (Or is it that the Ghost just brings things to the forefront of Scrooge's memory? Does anyone know exactly how this is all working? Are they moving about, or are things moving about in front of them? Or is this actually all just in Scrooge's head?)
It is interesting how you can not think about something for dozens of years, but a smell or a vision can bring it all back so vividly, and suddenly it becomes very meaningful again.
"He was conscious of a thousand odors floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand hopes and joys and cares long, long forgotten." (pg 41)
"Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them?" (pg 42)
The Reason for Scrooge's Hardheartedness
The first chapter describes Scrooge so well, but leaves you with the question, "Why is this old man so mean-spirited?" The second chapter answers that question.
He seems to be jumping between very positive memories and very painful ones. Scrooge must have had a very emotional boyhood, which you can contrast with the stoic-ness of his adulthood. No wonder he hates Christmas!
Scrooge's life epitomized neglect and loneliness. Do you think that offers any justification for his current choices and attitude? I don't think it is a justification, but it definitely gives an explanation as to why he is how he is!
Amongst all of the heart wrenching memories, there are two highlights of his younger life: his sister, and his old boss. Through them, he sees that (pg 52):
He has the power to render us happy or unhappy, to make our service light or burdensome, a pleasure or a toil...The happiness he gives is quote as great as if it cost a fortune."
Some people in Scrooge's life made him miserable, while others brought him great joy. This made me think of my own actions and how I have the potential to make people miserable or joyous. Do I make my children's days light or burdensome? Do I case my husband pleasure or toil?
Unfortunately, Scrooge took the happenings of his life and let the negative side win. He became bound and determined to never be poor again and sacrificed relationships to do so. Before showing him with his wife (is that who that is?) the book says:
"There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye, which showed that passion had taken root, and where the shadow of the growing tree would fall."
This is a great illustration of how the love of money is the root of all evil.
"I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master passion, Gain engrosses you." (pg 54)
As Scrooge sees himself in all of these situations, he comes to regret some of how he has been acting.
- Scrooge wishes he would have been kinder to the caroler at his door the night before.
- He would "like to be able to say a word or two" to his clerk.
As we finish up today, can I encourage you to choose your actions carefully, to bring others joy, to be generous, and to value people?
This was definitely a conviction for me as I read this chapter! Like we talked about last week, I definitely do not think that these are the things that lead to salvation, but they should definitely be the fruit of a regenerate life. Walk worthy of your calling this week, and join me back here next week to discuss chapter 3!
If you need to pick up a copy of the book, head over to amazon (the kindle version is free!) or since it is a public domain title, you can also get it for free on Project Gutenberg.
Classical Mamas Read Link-Up
Did you write about A Christmas Carol on your blog? Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)? Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)? I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!
I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions. If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.
Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).