Sunday, December 25, 2011

16511--The Ghost Story that Will Not Die

Released in December 1843, while not generally considered a supernatural tale of horror, A Christmas Carol did use horror as a tool (a big, blunt hammer) upon its central character: the famed Ebeneezer Scrooge.  When you break this one down by genre, though...alright, when I do it.  Most other people have apparently found in it an uplifting holiday story.  I suppose that's a good thing since it's what Charles Dickens was aiming to deliver.  It was well-received when it came out and still sees frequent adaptation and updating over 170 years later.

OK, so it's a staggering success, especially for a secular (non-religious) Christmas story.  Still, it seems weird that Dickens got there the way he did.  He paid for the publishing himself (he wasn't happy with his publisher's payout on their previous deal), he gave us a protagonist who was utterly unlikable and let the antagonists torment him.  Scrooge unleashed his rants and tried to resist, but he was up against ghosts who had decided to target the cranky old guy.  He was outmatched and in the end he caved.  Scrooge became what the ghosts apparently wanted him to be.  The headstrong loner gave in to popular opinion.

That's an atypical hero in an atypical story pattern and people are still eating it up almost two centuries later.  Wow.

Dickens was bad-ass.

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