Another Dickens entry!

There is a great deal of melodrama and pathos in Dickens. There are also several frightening scenes.  Ironically, one of his most scary pieces is in “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge has finished 12 days of Christmas celebrations. The Ghost of Christmas Present is about to bid him farewell for his life is coming to its end.  Scrooge sees something under the Spirit’s robe:

 

 

“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit, are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

The bell struck twelve.

The timing is perfect. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, who is the Grim Reaper, Death incarnate. Ignorance and Want precede Doom and Death.

Dickens warns his readers even in the best of times we have the dark side of Humanity. To deny The Shadow side will spell the downfall of man.

Ignorance and Want are quite alive and well and growing.  As the population grows and resources diminish, Want is becoming more demanding.

But it is Ignorance the ghost rightfully tells us to fear the most. One only has to hear the news or examine politics (here and everywhere) to see Ignorance is proliferating.  Scary gloomy thoughts, but they must be addressed.

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