A Christmas Carol Study Guide
A Christmas Carol: Chapter Summaries
A Christmas Carol: Themes
A Christmas Carol: Characters
A Christmas Carol: Analysis
A Christmas Carol: Quotes
A Christmas Carol: Critical Essays
A Christmas Carol: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
A Christmas Carol: Questions & Answers
A Christmas Carol: Introduction
A Christmas Carol: Biography of Charles Dickens
Introduction to A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens. It was originally published in 1843 to critical and popular acclaim, and it has gone on to be one of Dickens’s most famous works, as well as one of the most popular Christmas stories ever written. In the years since its publication, A Christmas Carol has never been out of print, and it is routinely adapted, retold, and parodied, especially around the holidays.
Dickens was purportedly inspired by several factors when writing A Christmas Carol, including the declining sentimentality in Britain surrounding the Christmas holidays and the inhumane working conditions of impoverished children. Dickens was particularly sympathetic to the cause of the working poor, and several of his other works, including Oliver Twist, highlight the hardships they faced.
The transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge from a miserly curmudgeon into a generous, kind man is one of the most celebrated character arcs in literature. In addition to its messages about the plight of the poor and the meaning of Christmas, A Christmas Carol also offers an optimistic view of human nature and the human ability to overcome one's faults. Ultimately, Scrooge's story indicates that the decision to be kind rather than selfish can redeem even the most unsympathetic individuals.
A Brief Biography of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was arguably the most prominent English novelist of the Victorian era, known as much for the epic sweep and realistic texture of his fiction as for his keen awareness of the social issues of his time. Raised in an impoverished family and forced to work in a factory from a young age, Dickens went on to work as a journalist as a young man and eventually began writing and selling fiction in the serialized format typical of the time. His first novel was The Pickwick Paperas, published in 1836, which quickly became an enormous success. Over the next three decades, Dickens produced a monumental body of work—including novels, plays, short stories, and nonfiction—with broad popular appeal and literary richness. By championing social causes in his works, creating vivid, unforgettable characters, and caring for his audience as much as he did for his pen, Dickens established himself as one of the greatest authors of nineteennth-century England. His best-known works include Oliver Twist (1838), A Christmas Carol (1843), and A Tale of Two Cities (1859).