Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Christmas Carol - Going into Society

This being the Dickens year, I intend to read (or re-read) as many of his works as I can!  I started over the holidays with the shorter books, just to get into the spirit...

In A Christmas Carol, I was totally hooked in the eerie atmosphere of the book.  I've seen most of the movie versions of the book, so I did know the story,  getting away from the purely material aspects of our lives and looking out for our fellow people (still applicable to our modern lives btw).  What I loved about this book were the descriptions and the use of adjectives - especially words relating to colour and sound were so aptly used that images would just spring out of the pages - and I have to admit that the description of Scrooge in the first pages instantly sets the tone for the remainder: 
"the cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and poke out shrewdly in  his grating voice.  A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin..."
I found the story-telling almost like poetry with lots of rimes at the end of sentences, and I can well imagine a parent or grand-parent reading this to small children in a dimmly-lit room...

In Going into Society, I was astonished that a short story could be such a work of art.  Just the language used had me re-reading the beginning, until I got into the habit of reading phonetically... But it is the phonetic writing that best depicted the slang? the accent? used by the "lower" classes.  A whirlwind experience of Chops, who, upon winning the lottery, desperately tries to go "into Society", only to realise in the end that
"the difference is this.  When I was out of Society, I was paid light for being seen.  When I went into Society, I paid heavy for being seen."
Yes, some choices may end up not being the right ones... it's therefore crucial that we do check them and the reason for taking them...

1 comment:

  1. Also want to pay him homage, but don't think I'll have the courage to read the canon (I'll skip Hard Times with the bookclub, even). The plan is to read a biography or some other book *about* him. Have "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" by Daniel Pool in the TBR and might (finally) pick it up.




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