A Christmas Carol makes a serious plea for generosity. For Dickens, Christmas is essentially a secular holiday—but one that, behind all the laughter and festivities, should bring out the best of human nature. Through the character of Scrooge he offers concrete comic proof of how distorted a selfish person can become. Dickens generally wrote books several hundred pages in length, but this brief Christmas fable reveals both his typical themes and his characteristic early style. He meant to entertain and he succeeds, but his humanitarianism makes itself felt as well. While he...
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