Working on the production, I loved listening to Dickens' day after day. When an author writes so well, it is a joy to listen to the music of the words and to discover nuances and imagery with each new hearing. It's like playing a favorite song over and over again. That first line: "Marley was dead to begin with" can be said so many different ways - try it, emphasizing different words or parts of the sentence. My kids and I had fun reading and re-reading that line. Or how about this description of Scrooge:
Oh! but he was tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing,
wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!
So brilliant and the music of the words!
The New York Times today has an interactive article about A Christmas Carol. They have scanned in 4 of Dickens' original handwritten pages from the story. Readers are asked to decipher the changes that Dickens' made and comment on which change the reader believes to be the best or most interesting and why.
I jumped quickly to the comments section to see what readers had observed. There were a few comments that took me aback. Several people feel the story is very cynical because everyone (excepting his nephew) wants Scrooge to give them money. They feel that Scrooge should be able to "keep Christmas in his own way." To each his own, but I'm always amazed when people have a different opinion of something than I do. How can that be I wonder?
It reminds me of the time my mother and I were having a political discussion about George W. Bush. She insisted that no one in America could possibly like or respect him. I had to remind her that the country voted for him twice (okay once, he was appointed the first time). Funny, I know but you have to remember that she lives in Vermont which is its own secluded world of liberalism.
Anyway, I don't agree that it's a cynical work; how can it be with that rich, melodic language? I'm interested to see what readers come up with after perusing the text. In the meantime, do you have a favorite holiday tale? Or perhaps a literary work whose language just sings for you?