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Places to Go: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Written by Rachael Norris, 18th December 2020

Learning and Quality Leader at The Reader, Natalie Kaas-Pontoppidan reads from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The theme for our daily readings this month is 'Winter Warmth'. Check out the rest of our readings for December and download the calendar here.

This week’s Places to Go feature is an extract from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Scrooge is best known for being a miserly businessman who views Christmas as a waste of time. In this extract, however, we get to see a different and more tender side to him. When we enter the story, the first of the three spirits has just woken him up and asked him to follow. It turns out that they will be revisiting Scrooge’s childhood and the school he was in. I love how the spirit is described as gentle yet determined. Caring but firm support can sometimes feel needed when we are to confront past experiences in life.

I am particularly interested in the lines that read: ‘a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire; and Scrooge sat down upon a form, and wept to see his poor forgotten self as he used to be.’

‘His poor forgotten self as he used to be…’ Wow, imagine what it must be like to travel back in time and see your childhood self with adult eyes. What would you see and how do you think it would make you feel?

Scrooge is described as a ‘lonely boy’ during childhood. I wonder if some of his current behavior is still affected by that loneliness.

I am also curious as to how travelling back in time and seeing yourself as you ‘used to be’ might affect you going forward? Can we repair ourselves by looking back at some of the things we experienced when just a child?

What do we think about the final bit? It says,

“I wish,” Scrooge muttered, putting his hand in his pocket, and looking about him, after drying his eyes with his cuff: “but it’s too late now.”

“What is the matter?” asked the Spirit.

“Nothing,” said Scrooge. “Nothing. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that’s all.”’

It feels as if there is a change happening here. As if he wants to give a version of what he did not get himself to someone else? I wonder if we have ever had moments like that?

I love this part of ‘A Christmas Carol’ because it makes me think about how we all carry our former selves with us and how these often can work as a way to understand our current self. It reminds me that humans can never be labelled as just one thing and that there’s potential for change in all of us, at any time.

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