The Christmas season is among us and one of the classic Christmas stories about a mean old man changing his ways will certainly be played on a few occasions.
A Christmas Carol, as I am sure you know, is about Ebenezer Scrooge’s confrontations with ghosts who try to get him to change his perspective.
To start to see that money is not the key to happiness, but the charity that you gives to others is.
Now in popular culture you will read about how the character of Scrooge was based on a businessman.
Makes sense, since the guy is a greedy banker who only cares about money.
I don’t view it like this though.
The story seems to not be about making money at all.
In fact, when does Scrooge ever go into details of the trade?
How he made his money?
He just said he was determined to succeed in it.
You can credit that part of the Dickens’s character as a case of a well written story.
Which is true.
The character was shaped very well with the flashbacks, (yes, that is what the ghosts are actually doing with Scrooge) so we get to understand him better.
Why is he so mean?
Why is Christmas a humbug?
And what is up with how he treats his inferiors?
Was he always such a douche?
Once again, these raise questions of his character, more than any true business practices he handled.
I feel that the character of Ebenezer Scrooge was based on Charles Dickens’s own life more than any businessman he may have known.
Just do this for me.
Replace the profession of Scrooge’s, a banker, with Dickens, a novelist.
Imagine how Scrooge would have acted if he wrote books for a living.
Then learn about Dickens own life.
And you will see they are eerily similar.
Dickens had a tough childhood.
He got married multiple times.
His publishing career was much better than his actual life.
Maybe that is what Dickens was really saying all along.
Not that greed is bad.
Or that Scrooge is mean.
But he is fearful that he became consume with the words he wrote.
He was Scrooge.
More focused on his books than others.
Not a happy person, but financially set for life.
Those ghosts are not about trying to help Scrooge.
But how Dickens wishes he could help himself.
You can literally have the same story if Scrooge was a successful writer.
Nothing about it would change!
He could still have a bad childhood.
Work as an apprentice.
Fall in love.
Fall out of love.
Then open a business and become successful.
For some reason we never stop to think that the character could be Dickens.
I remember reading about how big of a deal it was with how JD Salinger may have been the character in the Catcher In The Rye.
Readers were convinced it was him.
But, not once, have I heard anyone say this about Scrooge.
Let’s take each ghost into consideration for who they would be to Dickens.
Ghost Of Christmas Past
This was is easy.
It is Dickens’s childhood.
Instead of growing up as a writer, he grew up to be a banker.
Notice how Scrooge didn’t go to a special banking school as a kid, or was not treated special when he got a job.
Yeah. Because that is what Dickens went through.
His books have been known to have a very common touch for his time.
Mostly because he grew up a common man of his time.
Ghost Of Christmas Present
It starts off really nice.
The guy is jolly and merry and eating ton of food.
But then, Scrooge (or Dickens) sees the rest of the world.
And that his work is not helping as much as he thought it would.
There are still people in the world who need hunger and shelter.
And Dickens, for the betterment of his writing, ignored them.
The end of this part plays into the fear of the next ghost.
It is like this ghost is his recognition of his faults.
The last ghost is what he thinks may happen from them.
Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Be
This is the scene that any writer can relate to.
Fear that you will be forgotten.
That your book won’t sell.
That you are just wasting your time on that novel.
That your words will never be read.
This is the fear that Dickens has about himself.
That he became this mean man who only cares about his books and will have to pay for his selfishness one day.
It is only Dickens hope that he is not too late to change what he has become.
Next time you are watching the movie about the cranky Scrooge just remember that the writer of it may have been talking about himself the whole time.
And if you really want to sound like you know what you are talking about, bring up to a fellow viewer that Scrooge is actually based on Dickens.
I’m sure someone will be impressed.