At the end of the tale, a sick child who seemed destined to die is cured, and a bad man turns over a new leaf and becomes generous and affectionate. Good triumphs over evil, good-heartedness and good cheer over poverty and misery. Yet two terrifying children who have been introduced into the story are left at the end, their fates unresolved, to haunt us. It was written in the autumn of , during the hungry 40s, a prolonged period of depression and unemployment.
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Dickens was busy writing a novel, Martin Chuzzlewit , which was not selling well in serial form. He was also interesting himself in the condition of the country. He visited a ragged school, which offered basic education to street children — children with no parents, or neglectful ones, filthy children who sometimes missed lessons because they had been in prison, pickpockets, prostitutes — and he urged his rich friend Miss Coutts to support such schools. He spoke in support of the Mechanics' Institutes in the great industrial towns, set up to offer male and female workers libraries, lectures and some access to further education.
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He reacted with horror to the facts revealed in the report of the Children's Employment Commission, and planned "a very cheap pamphlet, called 'An Appeal to the People of England, on behalf of the Poor Man's Child'. In it, Scrooge, a London businessman, stands for the rich, and at the start of the story he is approached and asked to make a Christmas donation for the poor suffering in the depression.
He refuses rudely, on the grounds that the state provides for them: "Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? Scrooge is then suddenly drawn into a magical world of ghosts and spirits, described with all Dickens's exuberant imagination. John Sutherland has pointed out the many illogicalities of the narrative, but most readers travel happily and unquestioningly through time and space with Scrooge as he revisits his own past and sees the struggles of the Cratchit family and their delicate youngest boy, Tiny Tim.
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The Spirit of Christmas Past carries Scrooge back to his unhappy boyhood, when his neglectful parents left him at boarding school through the holidays, and at once he is softened: he pities the child he was, says, "Poor boy," weeps, and is already a changed character, ready to love his fellow men. Still, he is taken in hand by further spirits, and given a sharp political lesson by the Spirit of Christmas Present, who produces two children from under his cloak.
They are a boy and girl, "meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish … where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked". Scrooge asks, "Are they yours? This girl is Want. Beware them both … but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is doom. The Spirit disappears and Scrooge's re-education continues. A poor shoemaker and his wife are down to their last piece of leather when their fortunes change thanks to help from talented elves. The Velveteen Rabbit.
A tree can't wait to grow up and achieve great things, rather than appreciate the present. The Tailor of Gloucester. Similar to The Elves and the Shoemaker , these lovely mice take over sewing for an aged tailor at Christmas time, but have to 'paws' for his cat! A festive holiday poem forgetting fairy tricks and elfish play for a moment from the beloved author of Alice in Wonderland. Twain treats us to his playful, dry wit, in his Santa's response to children's letters. The Sprig of Holly. A dwarf demands a year of the children's lives in exchange for the last piece of holly.
A Christmas Carol: A Child's Version Illustrated
Will they agree? A play off the "Twas the Night Before" verses, there's lots of recovering after the year's biggest holiday. After reading, young children might rethink their wish to have Christmas all the time. Linus' speech in "A Charlie Brown Christmas". In this unforgettable scene, Linus recites scripture to explain what Christmas is all about in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The whole story: youth in the Burzee forest, manhood when he starts his journey with the reindeer, and old age to the mantle of immortality.
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This scarecrow gets recruited by Santa to scare away polar explorers and spread joy at Christmas time. Christmas; or, The Good Fairy. A precious story about the joy of thoughtful gift-making and giving to appreciative recipients. A heartwarming story about an oatmeal parade and "angel-children" who help a family in need.
Little Jack Horner.
*** CHARLES DICKENS SHORT STORIES ***
A Snow Man. Papa Panov's Special Christmas. An old man welcomes strangers into his home, a story of compassion and kindness. Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride.