A Christmas Carol

Ghost of an Idea

Much of Charles Dickens' representation of morality in his most famous of Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, is derived from "the wisdom of our ancestors." (1) From the beginning of his narrative Dickens explains his usage of the phrase "dead as a doornail," in relation to Marley, as trusting in the "wisdom of our ancestors," even if it were not the simile he himself would have invented. He continues to carefully craft his story in attribute to traditional culture.

Christmastime, as a setting, stands for the temporary breakdown of restraints felt within a normal life in a Dickens society. Scrooge's nephew describes Christmastime as:

...the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when

men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up

hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really

were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of

creatures bound on other journeys....though it has never put a

scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me

good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it! (6-7)

Indeed the fragmentation and restoration of a set of values is the theme of A Christmas Carol- a story set not in...

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