Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"The Inimitable" Author

Today's history lesson is a reflection on literature. Have you ever heard of, or a better choice of words 'read', the Pickwick Papers? Um-m-m-m? What about David Copperfield (1850) (not the illusionist), Great Expectations (1861), or A Tale of Two Cities (1859)? Have your children been exposed to such great epic writings? If not, then, please by all means turn off the television, take away the cellphone, pack up the iPod and begin an introduction to Charles Dickens. There is no time better than the present to not only read the classic story A Christmas Carol but also learn about the author who is considered a literary genius.


This Day in History: December 17, 1843

A Christmas Carol was published on this day in 1843. It has since become a classic featuring the timeless protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge, a curmudgeonly old miser, who, with the help of a ghost, finds the Christmas spirit. In the 21st century, it would be interesting to poll how many people have actually read the book. Unfortunately, the resulting figure would probably be low as compared to a similar question, "How many have seen the movie?"

A Bit of Author Background...
Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classic English literature. He was the quintessential Victorian author. His epic stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life are unforgettable. Read MORE...
Charles Dickens did not enjoy the atmosphere of quaint English inns beside a cozy fireplace. His sights and sounds of Christmas did not conjure up visions of plum pudding and Christmas punch. Dickens life was anything but glorious. He grew up during a time when orphaned and starving children were not uncommon, money was tight so misers hoarded all they could muster from the poor, murderers roamed the streets, and abusive schoolmasters instilled fear in the eyes of their students. Dickens was 19th century London personified, he survived its mean streets as a child and, largely self-educated, possessed the genius to become the greatest writer of his age. Dickens biography is a story in itself that lay the foundation for many of his characters and themes of his writing.
The Book Itself...

In 1938, an American film adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol hit the silver screen. For many people, this became the only exposure to the author of such a literary classic. As time moved forward so did advancements in film and theatre. Numerous adaptations of Dickens' novel have been released throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. One must remain mindful that theatre productions and film presentations are based upon a script, which requires rewriting of the context into the proper form. In doing so, much of the prolific writing is lost. Here is an example that is one of my favorites simply because it contains a phrase still commonplace today. This occurrence appears in the first stave (chapter) of the book.



Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Movies definitely bring words to life but not without great authors. The words of an author taps into creative corridors of the mind bringing the reader to the edge of imagination. As for the movies, beware. We see it without giving each scene much additional thought. It is what it is. Movies are Hollywood with added effects to make them more appealing and in tune with the times.

Bottom Line...

Don't give up going to the movies but when a classic is presented on the silver screen, STOP! Read the book first! Then, make your own comparison. 

Whether warm or cold outside grab a cup of coffee, hot cocoa or whatever beverage you find comforting, turn off the TV and cellphone. Curl up in your favorite chaise lounge, hammock, in front of the fireplace, heater, or under a warm blanket. Just settle in with a good book and let the author take over from there! In today's case, "The Inimitable" author, Charles Dickens and the classic A Christmas Carol.

Meet Ebenezer Scrooge, then, READ THE BOOK!

Charles Dickens/Quotes
How many do you recognize but never knew from whom they came?
  • Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
  • No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
  • A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
  • The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.
  • I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
  • To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.
  • It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.
  • We need never be ashamed of our tears.A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.