Author Spotlight: Charles Dickens
One of our many Christmas traditions is the exchange of stories. Every year, children sit in front of the fire, with mugs of hot coco in hand, eager to listen to stories of Christmas. Many of these stories come from the Bible, if not from the mind of one man: Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens was a British author who is widely popular for his many stories, most notably his Christmas tale: A Christmas Carol.
Born at the beginning of the 19th century, Dickens was not born in the lap of privilege. At the tender age of 12, he was removed from school and set to work at a factory to support his family after the imprisonment of his father. Despite his lack of formal education, Dickens managed to excel in the literary field. He worked as editor for 20 years and wrote hundreds of stories, many of which are still popular today.
Some of the popular recurring themes in Dickens’s stories include Victorian London, comedic dialogue, and poverty. In fact, the word “Dickensian” has been coined to mean literature that reflects many of Dickens’s common themes, especially poor social conditions. With his stories, Dickens made sure to shine a light on the underprivileged members of society. His work also contained keen observations of society in the Victorian era. His most popular works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities.
Another important contribution of Charles Dickens to literature is the revival of Christmas as a cultural phenomenon. In the 19th century, Christmas wasn’t as big of a celebration as it is now. Back then, Christmas was seen more as a religious holiday than anything else. Dickens singlehandedly changed people’s preconceptions of Christmas with one of his most popular tales, A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy old man who hated the holidays. On Christmas night, Scrooge is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet To Come. These ghosts show him the experiences that led to his current situation, the situation of the people affected by his greediness, and the future he is doomed to live if he continues his horrid behavior: solitude in death. Seeing this, Scrooge immediately apologizes to the people he has hurt and spreads cheer. Over the years, Dickens’s Christmas story has been adapted in hundreds of films, television shows, and stage productions.
Using his experiences, Charles Dickens managed to weave stories that inspire hope despite poor conditions. This is the reason why his works are still widely popular centuries after he had been alive.
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