I have really been enjoying the CSLJ Book Club discussion of A Christmas Carol here on Facebook but I also wanted to make sure to post my responses to the discussion questions here on the blog as well.
Please feel free to respond to anything I wrote here in the comments or you can post your own thoughts on the book and share the link here. I would love to hear what you have to say!
Q: Have you read A Christmas Carol before? If you’ve read A Christmas Carol before, is this time around any different from your previous read(s)? If so, what?
It’s been years since I read A Christmas Carol but I don’t really think I ever realized how much humor is in the book. For all that Scrooge is a dour, joyless curmudgeon, he is the master of a snarky reply. My favorite example of this was when he told the ghost of Jacob Marley that he could be the product of indigestion rather than an actual ghost and that there was “more of gravy than the grave” about him. There’s so much bravado in this moment and then you find a pun! It’s just too funny.
Q: What did you think of the book? Was there anything you particularly liked about the story? Disliked? Did you have a favorite part? What image or line or scene sticks with you the most? Why?
I really enjoyed the book but my favorite part was Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig’s party. I love it because it is such a happy moment that just puts a smile on your face. I was also really impressed with the way Dickens wrote this scene. I mean, look at this sentence:
There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer.
And, and, and, and, – it speeds up and leaves you almost breathless when you read it and captures the merriment and excitement of the day.
And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance; advance and retire, both hands to your partner, bow and curtsey, corkscrew, thread-the-needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig “cut”—cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.
The writing has a great rhythm here – lots of long, repetitive, staccato sentences that are almost musical when you read them out loud and makes you feel as if you had been dancing right along with the Fezziwigs.
Q: Why do you think A Christmas Carol is such a holiday classic?
I think A Christmas Carol is a classic because it touches on so many different aspects of the holiday – friends and family both those with us and those we have lost, nostalgia, hope, a fresh start – so that however you look at the holiday, there’s something in this story that can speak to you.
Q: If you were visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, which of your holiday memories do you think he would take you to see? Why?
When I was engaged (and through the first year of my marriage), I worked as a counselor at various group homes for people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. It was the sort of job where someone had to be on shift 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and so, I worked during the Christmas and Thanksgiving. My family understood and I was happy to be able to do my part in giving the residents a happy holiday but as things turned out, those holidays were the last ones I had to celebrate with my grandparents before they passed away and it has always made me a little sad that I missed them. I think if the Ghost of Christmas Past could take me to any holiday, it would be that Christmas so I could celebrate one last time with my grandparents.
Q: While I was reading up on A Christmas Carol, I discovered that many of the iconic Victorian Christmas traditions were in danger of dying out until revived by A Christmas Carol and its popularity. What holiday traditions do you and your family observe? Are there any traditions you would like to start or bring back into your Christmas celebrations?
When we were younger, my sisters and I would sing Christmas Carols while cleaning up after Christmas dinner. Now with my sister, Ginger, living across the country and each of us having in-laws and other family obligations to fit into the holiday, there isn’t so much time for singing together anymore but I would really like to find a way to revive the tradition next year.