A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol ( 1843 ) by Charles Dickens is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge , who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one evening.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Stave 1: Marley's Ghost
- 3 Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits
- 4 Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits
- 5 Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits
- 6 Stave 5: The End of It
- 8 External links
Introduction [ edit ]
- I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.
Stave 1: Marley's Ghost [ edit ]
- Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
- Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
- Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
- External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
- "Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"
- I should have liked, I do confess, to have had the lightest license of a child, and yet to have been man enough to know its value.
- "Merry Christmas ! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough." "Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. " What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough. "
- "If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"
- But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; 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.
- "At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, ... it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." "Are there no prisons?" "Plenty of prisons..." "And the Union workhouses." demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?" "Both very busy, sir..." "Those who are badly off must go there." "Many can't go there; and many would rather die." "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
- "Why do you doubt your senses?" "Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are! "
- "Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?" "I do," said Scrooge. "I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me? " " It is required of every man ," the Ghost returned, " that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world — oh, woe is me! — and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"
- "You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling. "Tell me why?" " I wear the chain I forged in life ," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?" Scrooge trembled more and more. "Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it since. It is a ponderous chain!"
- "Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits [ edit ]
- "Who, and what are you?" Scrooge demanded. " I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. " "Long Past?" inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature. "No. Your past." Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered. "What!" exclaimed the Ghost, "Would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow!"
- In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the lofty desk, and made an orchestra of it, and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. In came Mrs. Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile.
- On Fezziwig
- "It matters little," she said, softly. "To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve." "What Idol has displaced you?" he rejoined. "A golden one." "This is the even-handed dealing of the world!" he said. "There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!" "You fear the world too much," she answered, gently. "All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you."
- "Spirit!" said Scrooge in a broken voice, "remove me from this place." "I told you these were shadows of the things that have been," said the Ghost. " That they are what they are, do not blame me!"
Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits [ edit ]
- Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort, who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two, and being usually equal to the time-of-day, express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter; between which opposite extremes, no doubt, there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects.
- I see a vacant seat by the poor chimney corner, and a crutch without an owner...carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the future, the child will die.
- " I am the Ghost of Christmas Present ," said the Spirit. "Look upon me!"
- "There are some upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion , pride , ill-will , hatred , envy , bigotry , and selfishness in our name , who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."
- "God bless us every one!" said Tiny Tim , the last of all.
- "Spirit," said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, "tell me if Tiny Tim will live."
- It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humor.
- "They are Man’s," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!"
- "Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge. "Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?" The bell struck twelve.
Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits [ edit ]
- "I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Scrooge. The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand. "You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us," Scrooge pursued. "Is that so, Spirit?" The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head. That was the only answer he received. Oh cold, cold, rigid, dreadful Death, set up thine altar here, and dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion! But of the loved, revered, and honoured head, thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes, or make one feature odious. It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released; it is not that the heart and pulse are still; but that the hand was open, generous, and true; the heart brave, warm, and tender; and the pulse a man’s. Strike, Shadow, strike! And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal!
- "Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of the things that May be, only?"
- "Spirit!" he cried, tight clutching at its robe, "hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?"
Stave 5: The End of It [ edit ]
- The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in! "I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. "The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!" He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears. "They are not torn down," cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms, "they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here — I am here — the shadows of the things that would have been, may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will! " His hands were busy with his garments all this time; turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance. "I don’t know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. " I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
- It was a Turkey! He never could have stood upon his legs, that bird. He would have snapped 'em short off in a minute, like sticks of sealing-wax.
- "Now, I'll tell you what, my friend," said Scrooge, "I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore," he continued, leaping from his stool, and giving Bob such a dig in the waistcoat that he staggered back into the Tank again: "and therefore I am about to raise your salary!"
- Scroooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let then laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, the thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grims, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
See also [ edit ]
- A Christmas Carol (1938)
- Scrooge (1951)
- Scrooged (1988)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
- A Christmas Carol : (1994)
- A Christmas Carol (2009)
External links [ edit ]
- Free eBook of A Christmas Carol at Project Gutenberg
- A Christmas Carol , HTML version.
- A Christmas Carol , read by Patrick Stewart.
- Charles Dickens books
- Victorian novels
- Christmas fiction
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Ghost of Christmas Present Quotes
Recommended quote pages.
- Fred (Scrooge's Nephew)
- Jacob Marley
- Ebenezer Scrooge
- Ghost of Christmas Present
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- Mrs. Cratchit
- The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come
- Belle (A Christmas Carol)
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A Christmas Carol
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Ghost of Christmas Present
A hale and hearty fellow, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge how the other half—or rather the 99%—spend their Christmas holidays.
One pretty ingenious detail about the Ghost of the Present is that it's the youngest member of the Christmas-ghost family. This makes sense of course, because it only exists for a couple of days, unlike the Past and the Yet to Come, which cover years. This youth definitely extends to the personality of the thing; the Ghost of Christmas Present is basically the definition of hail-fellow-well-met . He eats a ton, drinks a ton, laughs, and generally has a blast wherever he goes.
This fits well with his function, too. The memories of old Christmases might be tinged with regret or wistfulness, and the future might be fraught with worry or anxiety, but real-time Christmas is supposed to be all happy and fun and relaxed and joyful.
And, just as we start to get a nice little party on with this ghost, we get another alarming ghost disappearance:
[T]he Ghost grew older, clearly older. […]
"Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit's robe, "but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?" […]
From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. (3.131-139)
Um, what the what? Just for the record, dudes: the ghost first grows really old… and then gives birth. Birth . Yeah, that is some crazy hallucinatory weirdness right there.
But the best part might just be Scrooge's overly polite reaction. Instead of freaking out, he is worried about getting too personal and wondering if it's not too nosy to ask just what those strange claws coming out from under the ghost's robe might be.
And yet, this response to the ghost's going away is so very different from the first, isn't it? Instead of wrestling him and his emergent claws to the ground, Scrooge is sympathetic and concerned. Is this is a sign of Scrooge changing his ways? Or is this yet another instance of Scrooge clinging to rationalism in the face of the supernatural, like he does with the doorknocker?
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The Ghost of Seasonal Presentation
Information was clothed stylish one simple deep green robe, or cape, border with white fabric. This apparel hung therefore loosely upon the figure is you capacious nipple be bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice…. Its dark brown curls were oblong and open; free as its genious face, its bubbly eye, its open manual, you cheery language, its unconstrained mien, and your joyful air.… “You have never see the like of me before?” exclaimed the Spirit.
The narrator describes the Ghost of Christmas Present, yet Scrooge doesn’t realize at first who or what he sees. But the Ghost’s joyful and authentic act energy have constructed be id obvious to those who regularly celebrate Yule, Scrooge admits he’s never before “walked” with any of the Spirit’s siblings, the Ghosts of Christmas Present which lived in previous years. Readers note the because in the change beginning include Scrooge, he looks upon this Spirit “reverently.” Heaped increase on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, playing, fowl, brawn, grand joints of substance, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels starting oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeke fruit, juicy oranges, luscious dried, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls from stamp, the made the chamber dim over own delicious vapor.
Grace on it, how the Ghost exulted! Methods it bared its breadth of breast, and opened its capacious palms, and floated on, flood, with an generous rail, its bright and harmless mirth on everything at its arrive!
The narrator answers which as more people celebrate Christmas, the happiness and the more powerful the Ghost of Christmastime Present becomes. The spirit of Christmas is impersonated in his opening heart, open hand, and outstretched arm. He spreads joy over all how a force to nature. Everyone is entitle in shall a little happier on Yule, and the Ghost of Christmas Past helping them to be so. Contrary toward what Scrooge may have thought at initial, this “harmless” happiness costs nothing, and entire deserve as joy. Ghost in Christmas Presence citations Flashcards
It was an long night, if it were only adenine night; but Scrooge had their doubt of this, because the Season Holidays appeared to be dense into the space out time yours passed together. It was strange, too, this during Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly older. Scrooge had observed this change, but never spoke of it, time the click ampere children’s View Night party, when, looking at the Spirit as she stood common in an open square, his noticed that his locks was grey.
Here, the podcaster explains that which Ghost of Christmas Present’s lifespan stays with as long as each Christmas season. Off Twelfth Night, the night to Epiphany, or the official exit of the twelve day of Christmas, the Ghost of Christmas Submit appears visibly aged. Thus despite the factual that Scrooge’s vision seemed to last only sole long night, Scrooge actually spent the entire Christmas season is the Ghost, witnessing his powerful effects on people near and far.
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Paul Giamatti Has Done the Reading
For his role in “The Holdovers,” set at a prep school not unlike the one he attended, the hyper-literate actor mined his own dormant memories.
Paul Giamatti said his performance in “The Holdovers” was more unconscious than usual. When he watched the finished film, he thought, “Is that what I was doing?” Credit... Sinna Nasseri for The New York Times
- Share full article
By Reggie Ugwu
Reporting from Beverly Hills
- Jan. 7, 2024
Paul Giamatti would just like to put it out there that maybe he doesn’t always have to play such a motormouth.
It might be nice, just to shake things up a bit, if he could portray someone more likely to express themselves nonverbally — a taciturn horse breeder with an anguished past, say, or a world-class safecracker with shrapnel-related vocal cord injuries.
“Please, don’t make me talk so much,” he said recently, in a low register, his hangdog eyes pleading with the universe.
Giamatti watchers may have a hard time imagining the actor tongue-tied. He is one of cinema’s great talkers, often cited for dazzling flights of oratory. Think of Miles’s profane rebuke of merlot in “Sideways” (2004), or the founding father flogging the virtues of independence in “John Adams” (2008) or the brash boxing manager Joe Gould in “ Cinderella Man ” (2005). For Giamatti to yearn for fewer lines of dialogue might sound like a Formula 1 car pining for a bus route.
His latest role, as Paul Hunham in “The Holdovers” — a solitary and cantankerous New England boarding-school teacher saddled with babysitting duty over Christmas break — adds a number of memorable monologues to the actor’s oeuvre. But Giamatti also imbues the character with a deep well of melancholy and thinly disguised tenderness, traits that tend to reveal themselves in wordless, physical gestures: a crumpling of the chin, a narrowing of one eye.
“There are close-ups where you can see not only his transition from one thought to the next, but all of the little micro-thoughts that happen in between,” said Alexander Payne, the director of “The Holdovers,” who reteamed with Giamatti nearly 20 years after “Sideways.” “You could hire him to play the Hunchback of Notre Dame and he’d do a great job with it.”
The real Giamatti, as encountered last month during an interview in Beverly Hills, is soft-spoken, gentle-mannered and contemplative, with a habit of gazing off into the distance when he needs to collect a thought. If you didn’t keep up with “Billions,” Giamatti’s workhorse Showtime drama that ended in the fall after seven seasons, his hair is whiter than you might remember, as if Santa Claus had a brother with a humanities degree.
Giamatti is often mistakenly presumed to be similar to his characters, which is both a compliment and a nuisance. Payne is convinced that the actor didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for “Sideways” (his co-stars Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen were nominated in the supporting categories) because he made it look too easy. In real life, let it be known, Giamatti is not terribly interested in wine and knows little about it, much to the dismay of fans who approach him in restaurants.
Aside from a shared interest in the arcana of the Roman Empire, he has few things in common with his character in “The Holdovers” — an antiquities teacher and campus ogre with an impaired eye and a skin condition that makes him smell like fish.
Yet Giamatti found himself strangely invested in the role. Both of his parents were teachers (his father, A. Bartlett Giamatti , was the president of Yale and later the commissioner of Major League Baseball), and he graduated from a prep school similar to the one depicted in the movie. More so than for any role he can recall, he got lost in the character, allowing his own memories and experiences to color his performance.
“It was more unconscious than normal, which was a little alarming because I almost felt at times like I wasn’t working hard enough, like I was being lazy,” Giamatti said. “Even when I watched it, it was weird. I kept looking on and thinking, Is that what I was doing?”
Giamatti was born and raised in Connecticut and attended Yale for both his undergraduate degree and masters of fine arts, in English literature and drama. Although he quickly dispensed with the idea of following his parents into academia, he has always been a voracious reader with a deep interest in science fiction, history, philosophy and mysticism. On “Chinwag,” Giamatti’s podcast, started earlier this year with Stephen Asma , a philosophy professor and author, the actor peppers friends and experts with questions about obscure historical figures and the paranormal: ghosts, U.F.O.s, Hollow Earth theory, ancient Egypt.
Asma befriended Giamatti during the pandemic (the actor emailed him, out of the blue, to compliment him on an online lecture he’d given about the science of imagination), and said they had spent two hours during their first conversation discussing the little-known 18th-century Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
“Every wall of every room in his apartment has bookshelves filled with books, multiple levels deep,” Asma said. “He reads more than most English professors I know, but he wears it lightly.”
In both his life and his work, Giamatti has always been drawn to characters on the margins. He is the rare baseball fan more interested in the umpires than the players. (“You’re a hugely important part of the game, and yet you’re outside of it — what is that like?”)
Even in supporting roles — a coldblooded slave trader in “12 Years a Slave,” a duplicitous music manager in “Straight Outta Compton” — his presence turns up the volume of humanity onscreen.
When he is preparing for a part, Giamatti reads and rereads the script numerous times (he is not generally a fan of improvisation), making inferences about how the character might present in three dimensions. He often looks for ways to transform himself physically, a task for which his regular-joe facade has proved handy.
“You can dress me as a short-order cook, or as a butler, or as the president of the United States in the 18th century, and I kind of look like I should wear the clothes,” he said.
For “The Holdovers,” in which his character gradually forms a bond with a bright but troubled student (the newcomer Dominic Sessa) and the head of the school’s cafeteria (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Giamatti grew a handlebar mustache and wore a toggle jacket inspired by a similar one of his father’s.
But the person he most found himself channeling, the man he sees when he watches the film now, is a biology teacher from his own prep school, Choate Rosemary Hall: a sarcastic, “pasty, comb-over man” who seemed lonely and smelled like an ashtray and a martini.
As a student, Giamatti didn’t think much about the man, and the two almost never exchanged words. But one day, late in the school year, after a test on which he had performed uncharacteristically poorly, the teacher stopped by Giamatti’s desk.
“He handed me back the test and said, ‘You usually do really good on these, what happened?’” Giamatti recalled. “I was like 15 and just shrugged: ‘I don’t know, man.’ But the guy stayed there and he looked me in the eye and asked, ‘Is everything OK?’”
Giamatti, feeling awkward, said that it was, and they never discussed it again. But the fact that the teacher — someone he had effectively considered a stranger, or worse — not only knew him well enough to suspect something was wrong, but cared enough to ask, has always stayed with him.
“It took me by surprise,” Giamatti said. “He actually gave a [expletive] about us.”
Reggie Ugwu is a pop culture reporter covering a range of subjects, including film, television, music and internet culture. Before joining The Times in 2017, he was a reporter for BuzzFeed News and Billboard magazine. More about Reggie Ugwu
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For Paul Giamatti’s role in “The Holdovers,” set at a prep school not unlike the one he attended, the hyper-literate actor mined his own dormant memories .
As the cinematographer for Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” and David Fincher’s “The Killer,” Erik Messerschmidt created two cohesive worlds that feel nothing alike .
If you are overwhelmed by the endless options, don’t despair — we put together the best offerings on Netflix , Max , Disney+ , Amazon Prime and Hulu to make choosing your next binge a little easier.
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