Response to A Christmas Carol

I’m actually pleased to read this again and outside of the Christmas holiday.  Of course the lessons within the story are just as present and effective now as ever.  But it was fun to analyze this for the Ghost story aspect.

My favorite element of the ghost story in A Christmas Carol is that no only do we have the spirits of past, present, and future, but Scrooge becomes a ghost to haunt those other times.  It’s the best of ghost stories and Lovely Bones mashed together.

Including this story in with the required readings just drives home one of Scott’s points from the beginning of the class.  We were asked to talk about what makes a ghost story for us and most of us fell into the trap of saying it had to be scary.  A Christmas Carol is not scary to the reader.  At least not thriller scary.  You could argue that it is morally frightening for Scrooge and the reader because that’s the point.  But being afraid because a ghost is haunting you? No, that wasn’t the point of the book.  But it is a great end to the course of readings.  Ghost stories are another facet of genre fiction that can be used to teach a moral.  That’s how I would write ghost stories.

2 thoughts on “Response to A Christmas Carol”

  1. Like you, Dan, I didn’t find the book to be that scary. Despite the visions of flailing, fire scorched people out in the street from his bedroom window.

    Curious thing you mention above, though. Can one be considered a ghost when transported to the future? Technically? He’s not dead. Well, he is in the projected timeframe, but in his time-safe bubble, he’s not. Curious about your thoughts on this.

  2. I like your take on the subject and morals. When you come right down to it, this was a story about morals and the human condition. I don’t think a book has to be scary to be a ghost story, although, as you mentioned, it’s an easy thing to pigeonhole. I think the reason this holds up as a classic tale is because of the moral overtones.

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