DECEMBER 25, 2020
It must be fun, to do this, else there is not much motivation, so this is not the first Christmas season that witnesses an article in local or national media claiming that Charles Dickens was an economic critic who did not understand free enterprise and that in Britain at the time Dickens published “Scrooge”, things were on track to increase the nation’s wealth and would accelerate the economic well-being of the country’s working class.
So, each year, we read these unoriginal criticisms of “A Christmas Carol” with business folks claiming that poor old Dickens just missed the point. Well maybe not.
Especially “not” if Dickens was not writing about the wretched state of the English working class and may not have been writing about class distinctions at all. What if all that rot from Scrooge about workhouses, excess population, and poor Bob Cratchet picking Scrooge’s pocket has nothing whatsoever to do with the “point” of the story? What if the point of Mr. Dickens story is not to boast about the economic stresses or lament the state of the working poor at all? What if he was making a more subtle point. In that case, what did these economic entrepreneurs miss?
They miss the subtle, or not so subtle point! They miss the effect of a dream-filled night that turned a mean, stingy, unhappy, warped, but rich old man into a man in the morning who ran to the window wrapped in in his bed clothing, threw open the sash, a happy man with a happy face shouting joy to good old London. Now that’s the point not to be missed, though the critics of Dickens missed it.
Unless, of course, they are just kidding.