In May 1843, Charles Dickens was invited to a charity dinner to raise funds for the Chateau Square Hospital, which specializes in caring for the elderly, the poor, and the poor. Ironically, most diners are wealthy wealthy people who make a fortune in the City of London. In a letter to his friend Douglas Gerold, Dickens scornfully described these people as “fashionably dressed, drooling, big belly, plump, irritable, gasping stupid cow”.
Dickens is eager to bring real change to society. After reading a parliamentary report on the tragic status of child labor in Britain in 1843, Dickens was hit hard, planning to write a brochure entitled “On behalf of the Poor’s Children Lettering the English People”, “Of course, please attach my name” . However, the more he thought about it, the more limited his influence was. So he changed his mind and planned to write something that really caught people’s attention, something that could knock out a “sledgehammer” on behalf of poor children, which would generate “20,000 times more power” than government brochures.
Inspiration from real life
In October 1843, Dickens went to the Athena Society in Manchester to give a speech, an educational charity for the working class. His sister Fanny and husband Henry Burnett, as well as two sons Harry and Charles, live in Manchester. When Dickens visited them, he witnessed the plight of the disabled nephew Harry, prompting him to think about the real life of poor and disabled children, whose lives would be more difficult than those of healthy siblings. Harry was the inspiration for little Tim in The Christmas Carol. (Unfortunately, unlike the characters in the novel, despite his best efforts to ask the doctor to rescue him, Harry Burnett failed to survive.)
Dickens strolled the alleys of Manchester and was shocked to see many families The scene of adults and children starving on the streets. Post-industrial poverty is chilling in Manchester. This was the hungry 1840s. Britain was experiencing economic depression, the unemployment rate was increasing exponentially, crops failed for two consecutive years, and daily food prices exceeded the affordability of many people.
Dickens ’speech at the Athena Society on October 5 was full of passion for reform. He was deeply shocked by what he saw and heard, and his words were full of anger and weakness. He reprimanded the wealthy and dignitaries: “… How many times have we heard the group say ‘too little to know is dangerous’. You know, according to the same authority, too little hanging is extremely dangerous. However, the The treatment method is very different, because hanging is too little dangerous, they advocate to hang some more; and because they know too little, they simply do not let us learn anything … “Newspapers all over the country reported his Speech.
Charles Dickens was only 31 years old when he wrote The Christmas Carol. This painting was painted by Francis Alexander Greater than 1942
When Dickens returned to London, he knew he needed to write something very important. On October 24, he first mentioned “The Christmas Carol” in a letter to the Scottish scholar McVe Napier: “I started a small project … and invited a painter to draw illustrations.” It was Dickens’s friend John Rich, and later became famous as the main cartoonist of “Panqu” magazine.
Christmas is coming
Dickens spent six weeks writing “October of Christmas” and completed the creation of the novel on December 2, but he was not relieved. On the contrary, his financial situation made him feel pressure and panic. His bank account was overdrawn, and his publishers Chapman and Hall did not support him in writing the novel, thinking it was a strange idea. The number of readers of his novel, Martin Qu Shuwei, which was serializing at the time, declined, and the publisher began to lose confidence in the star writer. As a result, they refused to pay the full cost of publishing the Christmas Carol, and the rest was paid by Dickens himself. Now that the book is complete, Dickens is outraged that Chapman and Hall have barely made any publicity for the book. However, they soon began to regret their actions: After the publication of “October of Christmas”, sales have soared and achieved great success. In 1844, Charles Dickens turned to their competitors Bradbury and Evans.
The Christmas Carol, published on December 19, 1843, captured the spirit of the times. For years, people have missed the way Christmas was celebrated in the past, and the time has come for the British Isles to revive Christmas. The novel also emphasizes that Christmas as a day of charitable donation has lost its original meaning.
Dickens himself was astonished by the tremendous success of The Christmas Carol. On December 19th, 6,000 copies were issued, and on Christmas Eve, Dickens received a letter from the publisher stating: “Since orders from all over the country are coming in, reprints will soon be needed.” Novelist William Thackeray An enthusiastic review was published in the magazine, bluntly: “In my opinion, this is a national welfare and a boon to everyone who reads it.”
Numerous Christmas carols have been adapted into stage, film and television series. This is a poster of a movie made by Disney Pictures in 2009.
Coincidentally, 1843 was also the first year of commercial production of Christmas cards. The idea came from a civil servant named Henry Cole, who had no time to write a long Christmas letter, so he printed 1,000 greeting cards, and sold those that were not needed. This inspired people to create a new Christmas fashion.
”Ode to Christmas” has never been out of print, it is widely known all over the world, and it is commented on in newspapers every December. Dickens expressed his views on society through this book. At the beginning of the novel, the mischievous Ebenezer Skruchi publicly clamored that the poor who could not work died best and could “reduce the excess population.” Dickens believes that he has expressed many readers’ opinions about the poor-he was once such a poor child, and his father was imprisoned for debt. Later, those words kept haunting Scrooge’s mind, and he began to feel the guilt of the poor for himself.
Dickens believes that the essence of “Ode to Christmas” is often overlooked in the adaptation. For example, some details in the book: When Christmas’s “Spirit of Now” began to grow old and gradually disappear, Scrooge noticed something under the ghost’s robe. He thought it was an animal’s paw, but it was a skinny human hand. “The ghost took two poor, humble, terrible, ugly, miserable children out of their robes … they clung to the ghost’s clothes … a boy and a girl … ‘Ghost, are they your children?’ Scrooge has nothing else to say. ‘They are human children,’ said the ghost, looking down at them, ‘… this boy is called Ignorance, this girl is called Greed, you have to watch out for them both, and all their Similar … ‘”
This is the main reason why Dickens wrote” Ode to Christmas “. He wants readers to realize that if they continue to deprive poor children of necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education, they will become extremely dangerous and violent people in the future. If a child born in a poor home is not as lucky as Oliver Twester, or a poor child is not as dead as Little Nell, he may grow up to be another Bill Sykes, Fagin, Little Love Millie or Daniel Quilp.