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Andy Whitman

Charles Dickens

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One commonality I notice between Dickens and Victor Hugo is that they both have a tendency to get sidetracked from their story when they get excited about a side-thread. Hugo's way worse at that than Dickens, mind you, but there you go. My favorite Dickens is definitely A Tale of Two Cities, with Great Expectations a distant second.

Have to admire Alexander McCall Smith's renovation of the serialized novel (44 Scotland Street).

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I agree about Dickens getting side-tracked. As I read through Great Expectations, I am guilty of skimming down through the side-tracks. Does anyone else do this? Is it important that I read every word? Are the side-tracks relevant to the dimensions of the story?

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It's been a while since I read the book, so I'm not sure what you mean by side-tracks. But be forewarned, seemingly inconsequential details and characters may be revealed as plot-important later on.

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One commonality I notice between Dickens and Victor Hugo is that they both have a tendency to get sidetracked from their story when they get excited about a side-thread. Hugo's way worse at that than Dickens, mind you, but there you go. My favorite Dickens is definitely A Tale of Two Cities, with Great Expectations a distant second.

Have to admire Alexander McCall Smith's renovation of the serialized novel (44 Scotland Street).

I hate abridged novels, but Les Miserables is the exception to the rule. It's the one novel that I think should be abridged. The section on the sewer system nearly did me in.

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One commonality I notice between Dickens and Victor Hugo is that they both have a tendency to get sidetracked from their story when they get excited about a side-thread. Hugo's way worse at that than Dickens, mind you, but there you go. My favorite Dickens is definitely A Tale of Two Cities, with Great Expectations a distant second.

Have to admire Alexander McCall Smith's renovation of the serialized novel (44 Scotland Street).

I hate abridged novels, but Les Miserables is the exception to the rule. It's the one novel that I think should be abridged. The section on the sewer system nearly did me in.

I have to agree with you, except that Hugo, in my opinion, has this way of doing it that reminds me of a slightly drunk uncle, who's clearly excited but also just not quite with it. I got a hoot out of his side stories; Dickens, not so much.

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So I just today finished reading "Great Expectations." At the conclusion, my book had another ending, the one that Dickens originally had, until he was convinced to make it more happy. Has anyone else seen this? If so, what do you think? Do we always need tidy endings? Can we live with an ending that's less satisfying?

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One commonality I notice between Dickens and Victor Hugo is that they both have a tendency to get sidetracked from their story when they get excited about a side-thread. Hugo's way worse at that than Dickens, mind you, but there you go. My favorite Dickens is definitely A Tale of Two Cities, with Great Expectations a distant second.

Have to admire Alexander McCall Smith's renovation of the serialized novel (44 Scotland Street).

I hate abridged novels, but Les Miserables is the exception to the rule. It's the one novel that I think should be abridged. The section on the sewer system nearly did me in.

I have to agree with you, except that Hugo, in my opinion, has this way of doing it that reminds me of a slightly drunk uncle, who's clearly excited but also just not quite with it. I got a hoot out of his side stories; Dickens, not so much.

I feel like Dickens' side stories only feel like side stories, and one of the joys of reading Dickens is seeing how these subplots that seemed like a rambling rabbit trail end up being key to the whole story.

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So I just today finished reading "Great Expectations." At the conclusion, my book had another ending, the one that Dickens originally had, until he was convinced to make it more happy. Has anyone else seen this? If so, what do you think? Do we always need tidy endings? Can we live with an ending that's less satisfying?

Really? I guess I've only read the "unhappy" ending, the one where Pip and Estella do not, in fact, "hook up" (and I'm sure that's just the way Dickens would have phrased it, too). It's much more satisfying that way, IMO, and more true to the irreconcilable barriers that Estella has erected. In fact, I remember being outraged by the original movie, made back in the '30s, which went the conventional happy ending route. The more contemporary version, with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, has its own issues, but at least they got the ending right.

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Yeah, Pip and Estella hooking up ruins the ending, but it's what the paying public longed to see in the mid 1800s.

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So I just today finished reading "Great Expectations." At the conclusion, my book had another ending, the one that Dickens originally had, until he was convinced to make it more happy. Has anyone else seen this? If so, what do you think? Do we always need tidy endings? Can we live with an ending that's less satisfying?

Personally, I prefer the happy ending. Which isn't always the case for me. For instance,

A Tale of Two Cities ends sadly -- or bittersweetly, if you prefer (though I don't like that word) -- but it wouldn't be the amazing story it is, and Sydney wouldn't be the wonderful character he is, if it didn't end that way. (Seen on a blog recently -- not my blog, I swear: "I want to bring Sydney Carton back to life and then marry him." :P )

But getting back to GE. Pip and Estella are not static characters. With the changes they both go through over the course of the book, the second ending feels more appropriate to me. I understand that not everyone feels that way. Even Dorothy L. Sayers, another idol of mine, didn't like the revised ending. But for once in my life, I disagree with her. And -- in all humility -- I don't think that's me being a shallow must-have-happy-ending-at-any-cost type. I just think it fits the story better.

In my edition of the book, John Irving has a foreword with a terrific defense of the revised ending. Someday I'll dig it out and share a few quotes, because it's really worth a read.

Edited by Gina

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Have any of you ever read John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman? I think he was playing a bit with the GE ending(s), in that he wrote a number of different endings for his own novel. Readers get to choose the one they think is most apt. ;)

Sounds like those "Choose your own Adventure" books that were popular when my kids were growing up!

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I had a whole bunch of CYOA novels when I was a kid... I need to reread Great Expectations now, though.

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Great Expectations coming up on the big screen: http://dickensblog.typepad.com/dickensblog...ions-movie.html

Maybe that should have gone in "Film," but since we already had a Dickens thread, it seemed to make more sense to put it here, at least for now. As for Woolley, I don't really know what to expect from him. Probably many of you are more familiar with him than I am.

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I didn't want to put this in one of the film Christmas Carol threads, so this seemed like a good place for it.

Scrooge Defended:

It's Christmas again, time to celebrate the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. You know the ritual: boo the curmudgeon initially encountered in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, then cheer the sweetie pie he becomes in the end. It's too bad no one notices that the curmudgeon had a point—quite a few points, in fact.

This reminds me of the article that tried to defend Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life that SDG and Co. so thoroughly deconstructed here.

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I didn't want to put this in one of the film Christmas Carol threads, so this seemed like a good place for it.

Scrooge Defended:

It's Christmas again, time to celebrate the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. You know the ritual: boo the curmudgeon initially encountered in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, then cheer the sweetie pie he becomes in the end. It's too bad no one notices that the curmudgeon had a point—quite a few points, in fact.

This reminds me of the article that tried to defend Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life that SDG and Co. so thoroughly deconstructed here.

I love this article!

I've been re-reading the book, and the only thing you can say about Ebenezer Scrooge is that he hates people. That's a bad thing. But that's the only thing you can slam him for. He may be mean, but he's not two-faced. He denies himself as much comfort as he denies Cratchit the warmth in that office. He's a stark businessman, but he pays his taxes, and when people cannot pay him, he allows for an extension.

The question to ask is, how would Scrooge act today? Well, for one thing, he most absolutely give to the community. He is most interested in the profit motive, above all, and so he recognizes that giving to charity lowers his taxes, and provides excellent public relations. If his name was Ebenezer Trump, he would save the city ice-scating rink, and have his name affixed to the venture. It's a smart move.

It could be that the works of Dickens helped establish the laws that would allow businesses to be more generous to their communities. For this, we can be grateful. But we should recognize that with the new presidential administration, and with our current economic crisis (created by people who stole and cheated the system, until it broke--which at no place in the Dickens' classic did I get the impression that Scrooge fit this mold), it may be that limits to a business' generosity would be made more stringent, and people would find themselves tempted to allow the government to take care of all charitable causes (are there no prisons? no workhouses?).

We have to remember that the challenge of reading the Scrooge tale is that we need to put ourselves into the place of Scrooge. The more outlandish he is presented, the more distant he is from our own lives, and the more we can write off the story as an instance of "well, I'm glad I'm not like HIM!" But it may come to pass with the new administration that the laws will be put into place that will test our abilities to be generous with each other--how easy is it to part with our money, for a charitable instituion, for which there would be no tax write-off, like in Dickens' day? Not so easy now, is it?

Just some thoughts...

Nick

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I didn't want to put this in one of the film Christmas Carol threads, so this seemed like a good place for it.

Scrooge Defended:

It's Christmas again, time to celebrate the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. You know the ritual: boo the curmudgeon initially encountered in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, then cheer the sweetie pie he becomes in the end. It's too bad no one notices that the curmudgeon had a point—quite a few points, in fact.

This reminds me of the article that tried to defend Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life that SDG and Co. so thoroughly deconstructed here.

That was fascinating in a Bernie-Madoff-Tries-Literary-Analysis kind of way, but the author seems to miss the point that Scrooge does undergo a radical transformation over the course of the story, and that before that transformation he is presented as a greedy, hard-hearted bastard. Sorry, Mr. Bean Counter, but we're not really supposed to admire the pre-transformation Scrooge. See, he's a bit of a villain, and he's not really presented as a shining champion of laissez faire capitalism.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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That was fascinating in a Bernie-Madoff-Tries-Literary-Analysis kind of way, but the author seems to miss the point that Scrooge does undergo a radical transformation over the course of the story, and that before that transformation he is presented as a greedy, hard-hearted bastard. Sorry, Mr. Bean Counter, but we're not really supposed to admire the pre-transformation Scrooge. See, he's a bit of a villain, and he's not really presented as a shining champion of laissez faire capitalism.
Owwwch.

Andy, can you point out to me where, in Dickens' exquisite text, does Ebenezer Scrooge engage in a Bernie Madoff scam? I'll tell you where--nowhere.

Dickens is very delicate in his creation of Scrooge. Scrooge's faults are indeed, many. He is unkind, and he considers Christmas to be a humbug. But he as unkind as he is to others, he is equally unkind to himself. He is frugal to a fault, keeping costs way, way, down so that his profits would increase--but to what end? He doesn't use his profits for any positive means. He trusts the government to take care of the poor, thru the use of his taxes.

I suspect that one of the central reasons why the Scrooge tale is so revered today (being the most covered story in cinematic history), is because it allows us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are immune from the pitfalls of who Scrooge is. Andy, this is where I suspect you may be missing the point. It's not so much that Scrooge is a villain, but that Scrooge is _us_ at our worst, at our least altruistic, if we were truly honest. Just because we don't exhibit the same features as Scrooge, we don't have a funny name, and we don't say "Humbug!" doesn't make it any less so.

Nick

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That was fascinating in a Bernie-Madoff-Tries-Literary-Analysis kind of way, but the author seems to miss the point that Scrooge does undergo a radical transformation over the course of the story, and that before that transformation he is presented as a greedy, hard-hearted bastard. Sorry, Mr. Bean Counter, but we're not really supposed to admire the pre-transformation Scrooge. See, he's a bit of a villain, and he's not really presented as a shining champion of laissez faire capitalism.
Owwwch.

Andy, can you point out to me where, in Dickens' exquisite text, does Ebenezer Scrooge engage in a Bernie Madoff scam? I'll tell you where--nowhere.

Dickens is very delicate in his creation of Scrooge. Scrooge's faults are indeed, many. He is unkind, and he considers Christmas to be a humbug. But he as unkind as he is to others, he is equally unkind to himself. He is frugal to a fault, keeping costs way, way, down so that his profits would increase--but to what end? He doesn't use his profits for any positive means. He trusts the government to take care of the poor, thru the use of his taxes.

I suspect that one of the central reasons why the Scrooge tale is so revered today (being the most covered story in cinematic history), is because it allows us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are immune from the pitfalls of who Scrooge is. Andy, this is where I suspect you may be missing the point. It's not so much that Scrooge is a villain, but that Scrooge is _us_ at our worst, at our least altruistic, if we were truly honest. Just because we don't exhibit the same features as Scrooge, we don't have a funny name, and we don't say "Humbug!" doesn't make it any less so.

Nick

First, to address your point, Nick, yes, we are all capable of living like Scrooge, hardening our hearts, etc. I agree with that. But I think the author of that article is arguing much more than that. To quote a (representative, I think) snippet from the article:

So let's look without preconceptions at Scrooge's allegedly underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit. The fact is, if Cratchit's skills were worth more to anyone than the fifteen shillings Scrooge pays him weekly, there would be someone glad to offer it to him. Since no one has, and since Cratchit's profit-maximizing boss is hardly a man to pay for nothing, Cratchit must be worth exactly his present wages.

No doubt Cratchit needs—i.e., wants—more, to support his family and care for Tiny Tim. But Scrooge did not force Cratchit to father children he is having difficulty supporting. If Cratchit had children while suspecting he would be unable to afford them, he, not Scrooge, is responsible for their plight. And if Cratchit didn't know how expensive they would be, why must Scrooge assume the burden of Cratchit's misjudgment?

As for that one lump of coal Scrooge allows him, it bears emphasis that Cratchit has not been chained to his chilly desk. If he stays there, he shows by his behavior that he prefers his present wages-plus-comfort package to any other he has found, or supposes himself likely to find. Actions speak louder than grumbling, and the reader can hardly complain about what Cratchit evidently finds satisfactory.

I can only hope that the author is engaging in satire gone wrong here. But since I suspect he is serious, let me me note that pulling yourselves up by the bootstraps didn't work any better in Victorian England than it does in current-day Haiti, that people really did starve to death under the good queen's royal nose, that the exploitation of the poor by the rich is a theme Dickens returns to again and again in his writing (it can be argued that it's the dominant theme of his work, and it was certainly a reality he experienced firsthand in his childhood), and that the "allegedly underpaid" Bob Cratchit could not afford the medical care that would have saved his son's life (we are shown, by the Ghost of Christmas Future, that Tiny Tim dies without Scrooge's intervention). But that's probably just a want, not a need. These wretched poor people with all their children; why can't they exercise some restraint? It's funny how Dickens remains contemporary.

Scrooge's "let the government take care of them" dismissal was one that Dickens roundly condemned, not only in A Christmas Carol, but in almost all of his novels. "Government care" meant the debtor's prison, a subject that Dickens goes on about at length, particularly in Little Dorrit. To put it mildly, Dickens was not a fan of what the government could do in these situations. What he was a fan of was private, individual generosity and moral responsibility; the very kind of responsibility that Scrooge shows following his Christmas Eve transformation.

Thus, from what I can tell, the author's "look without preconceptions" essentially involves interposing his own beliefs over the story, ignoring every literary convention employed by Dickens, and willfully distorting and contradicting the plain meaning of the text. I think he's woefully missed the point. And I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't want to hang out with him. He'd probably view me, with my four college degrees and my six months of unemployment in 2009, as a lazy parasite leeching off society. It's my owned damned fault, and I'm sure that the rest of society had nothing to do with it. I probably preferred my then-current wages-plus-comfort unemployment package to any other I could have found. Bah, humbug to you sir. And that's about as polite as I can get with this clown.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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FWIW, I have never read the book, but I am familiar with the story from countless stage and screen adaptations, and I can certainly imagine liberals taking exception to A Christmas Carol on the basis that it credits the salvation of the Cratchits to a private benefactor (i.e. the post-conversion Scrooge) and not to any sort of systemic, governmental solution. So the story doesn't lend itself to either extreme on the political spectrum, really.

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That was fascinating in a Bernie-Madoff-Tries-Literary-Analysis kind of way, but the author seems to miss the point that Scrooge does undergo a radical transformation over the course of the story, and that before that transformation he is presented as a greedy, hard-hearted bastard. Sorry, Mr. Bean Counter, but we're not really supposed to admire the pre-transformation Scrooge. See, he's a bit of a villain, and he's not really presented as a shining champion of laissez faire capitalism.

FWIW, I don't think Mr. Bean Counter is doing literary analysis, he's doing literary deconstruction -- i.e., not saying "This is who Scrooge is in Dickens' story" but "This is how (Dickens notwithstanding) we should actually think about the traits unfairly pilloried by Dickens in his stacked-deck morality play."

In other words, yes, Dickens wants us to not-admire Scrooge, but this writer says "Bah humbug to Dickens' values." The analogy to the similar deconstructions of It's a Wonderful Life was on the money.

(I had a friend with British roots who took a similar line on Star Wars: "Anti-imperial propaganda. Who says the Empire are the 'bad guys' and the Rebellion are the 'good guys'?")

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SDG wrote:

: (I had a friend with British roots who took a similar line on Star Wars: "Anti-imperial propaganda. Who says the Empire are the 'bad guys' and the Rebellion are the 'good guys'?")

That friend wouldn't happen to be my dad, would it? (He was born in England.) Years ago, when The Empire Strikes Back came out, I can remember my dad feeling some sympathy for the way Darth Vader implored Luke to help him "end this destructive conflict."

But I can also remember him saying how unpopular the Star Wars trilogy would have been with the Communist governments of that era, because it encouraged rebellion against oppressive empires. (We lived in Poland for a year in the 1970s -- just one year before the first Polish Pope was elected, and a few years before Lech Walesa made the news with his Solidarity movement, and a few more years yet before Steve Taylor sang about the oppression of Poland in 'Over My Dead Body'...)

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Andy,

I'm confused about your last email, perhaps you ought to explain it to me.

Dickens certainly painted Tiny Tim, a specialty needs child, in dire need of medical attention. Indeed, there are many families like this today, and it is a serious problem.

You're also correct that Dickens spoke against government-sanctioned solutions to societal ills, not just here, but in all of his works. The "prisons/workhouses" were entirely ineffective, and treated people like cattle. The solution, as he saw it, was in heart-felt giving, which is something not sanctioned by the government, but in the attitudes and decisions of individuals.

So if the government is not the solution, the solution is most clearly there being some sort of way for average persons to help assist those in great need. Churches have filled this void, as has individual efforts to appease debt, like giving to, say, "The Jimmy Fund", or "St Joseph's Children's Hospital." From here we agree.

But looking at Victorian England and comparing it to Haiti, and, sadly, your current predicament, is not an indictment towards capitalism, per se, because neither were fully capitalistic societies. The United States, by contrast, helped encourage businesses to engage in altruistic endeavors, by allowing tax breaks for individual contributions for charitable organizations. To Dickens' credit, his writing helped spur a wave towards giving, and looking after the less fortunate, and the tax laws were an extention of that.

I suspect that if our present government were to restrict the contributions of charitable organizations, and instead invest in huge economic plans (like nationalized health care), then our taxes would go up so astronomically (to help pay off the excrutiatingly high debt... currently at 800 billion dollars of interest-only, annually), then people would be a lot more hard up for cash, not being able to give to the organizations that they would want to give to. Companies would not be able to afford to hire new people, or would have to cut back on salary and benefits. And our GDP would continue to fall.

All of this does not speak well for your current situation, for which I am truly empathetic. When I hear "pull up by your bootstraps", I do think that sometimes people come up with the most incredible inspirations while living desperately close to the grind. The great thing about a free economy is that we have the opportunity to attempt to pull ourselves out of our rut. Even when I've been unemployed, I've forced myself to rediscover talents I didn't know I had.

That's my long way of saying, continue pulling yourself up.

Peace,

Nick

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FWIW, I have never read the book, but I am familiar with the story from countless stage and screen adaptations...

Suffice it to say, you really are missing half the book if all you know is the story from the screen adaptations. What you are missing is Dickens' exceptional use of words, the voice of the narrator (the Muppets actually got this right--but they could only do so much within its brief running time).

I highly, *highly*, **HIGHLY** recommend, for those who wish to approach this book anew, to listen to the masterful narration of the audiobook rendition, as performed by Jim Dale. Available on iTunes. Perfection. We listened to it while trimming the tree last year.

Nick

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Andy,

I'm confused about your last email, perhaps you ought to explain it to me.

Dickens certainly painted Tiny Tim, a specialty needs child, in dire need of medical attention. Indeed, there are many families like this today, and it is a serious problem.

You're also correct that Dickens spoke against government-sanctioned solutions to societal ills, not just here, but in all of his works. The "prisons/workhouses" were entirely ineffective, and treated people like cattle. The solution, as he saw it, was in heart-felt giving, which is something not sanctioned by the government, but in the attitudes and decisions of individuals.

So if the government is not the solution, the solution is most clearly there being some sort of way for average persons to help assist those in great need. Churches have filled this void, as has individual efforts to appease debt, like giving to, say, "The Jimmy Fund", or "St Joseph's Children's Hospital." From here we agree.

But looking at Victorian England and comparing it to Haiti, and, sadly, your current predicament, is not an indictment towards capitalism, per se, because neither were fully capitalistic societies. The United States, by contrast, helped encourage businesses to engage in altruistic endeavors, by allowing tax breaks for individual contributions for charitable organizations. To Dickens' credit, his writing helped spur a wave towards giving, and looking after the less fortunate, and the tax laws were an extention of that.

I suspect that if our present government were to restrict the contributions of charitable organizations, and instead invest in huge economic plans (like nationalized health care), then our taxes would go up so astronomically (to help pay off the excrutiatingly high debt... currently at 800 billion dollars of interest-only, annually), then people would be a lot more hard up for cash, not being able to give to the organizations that they would want to give to. Companies would not be able to afford to hire new people, or would have to cut back on salary and benefits. And our GDP would continue to fall.

All of this does not speak well for your current situation, for which I am truly empathetic. When I hear "pull up by your bootstraps", I do think that sometimes people come up with the most incredible inspirations while living desperately close to the grind. The great thing about a free economy is that we have the opportunity to attempt to pull ourselves out of our rut. Even when I've been unemployed, I've forced myself to rediscover talents I didn't know I had.

That's my long way of saying, continue pulling yourself up.

Peace,

Nick

Analyses of our current political predicament aside, the author is arguing that Scrooge is under no moral obligation to help the Cratchit's. That's what the government is for. Cratchit started it by having all those blasted children, he's got no discernible skills, and so he ought to be content with his lot, including that part of the lot that involves his disabled child who will die within a year. He made (and sported in) his own bed; now he he has to lie in it. Scrooge is just being a good businessman, watching out for the bottom line, human beings be damned. Or starved. Whatever. It doesn't really matter.

Sorry, but I disagree with the author and his perspective. I'm fairly certain that Dickens disagrees with this perspective. I've known plenty of people who think like the author. I think it's best if they're isolated on some remote island, where they can do as little harm as possible, and where they can battle it out privately to see which one of them is the fittest. Unfortunately, some of them are CEOs in America.

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Analyses of our current political predicament aside, the author is arguing that Scrooge is under no moral obligation to help the Cratchit's. That's what the government is for.

Nope. The author is stating that Scrooge has a financial incentive to do what he does, so to continue his business, so to continue paying Cratchit (who came to work for him, freely) and supporting the households who came to him, freely, and continuing to do so indefinitely. Scrooge's fault is not in how he runs his business, but his stinginess with his profits afterwards--(which he is equally stingy towards himself) as he is with his employees. His fault is also that he doesn't like people in general, and he doesn't like Christmas in particular. All of these qualities apply equally to everybody, whether a high-ranking CEO or a widow with only two denarii to spare.

Cratchit started it by having all those blasted children, he's got no discernible skills, and so he ought to be content with his lot, including that part of the lot that involves his disabled child who will die within a year.
It stands to be said that there's something to be said about being responsible when having a family. Obviously, this was written a few decades before the industrial revolution, and a century before the advent of artificial contraception, when having a large family was a great help for those living in a farm, but not so much in the squalor of London. Suffice it to say, I do not support artificial contraception, but even Humanae Vitae offers reasons why one ought to consider refraining from marital relations to which the end would be another mouth to feed. And in this year of the Octo-Mom, and in this year where there's a high school in Massachussetts has a large percentage of teenage pregnancies (so to allow the government to take care of them), I think the point is still valid. It shouldn't have to be articulated, but apparently it does.

Scrooge is just being a good businessman, watching out for the bottom line, human beings be damned. Or starved. Whatever. It doesn't really matter.
True, true, Scrooge doesn't care for people. That's a fault. But then again, his business wouldn't survive if it actually didn't help the very same people that had a need for it.

Unfortunately, some of them are CEOs in America.
Name names, please. I find it hard to believe that a smart businessman, a frugal CEO (whose only care is the bottom line) would NOT want to donate the largest percentage of funds to a charitable organization, so as to take advantage of the tax breaks, and to incur positive p.r. . Certainly, you can point to the thieves at Enron, but there is no point in Dickens' narrative that indicates that Scrooge is a cheat. I'm sure there's another great story out there about the cheats--even Mr. Potter applies--but don't misguide yourself as to that Scrooge is equal to such vermin.

Nick

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