"Christmas stories" by Charles Dickens

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ghost is Charles Dickens himself.

Both story-tellers do not bother one another and all these interlacing of intonations develop newer lyric-humorous shade.

However, that is not all. Fiction of the story-teller means also another thing: with the help of the fiction is emphasized that the told accidents are just a tale, not more. Despite of there area lot of sad and even horrible things, as the same the story is false, or the story with the happy-ending should not be taken so close to heart, too serious.

Because of that, story-teller before beginning to tell the story makes some joke that will not offend anybody.

This little domestic joke, yet little bit concerning to the context of the narration, gives people safety and presentiment about the happy-ending.

For example, in Christmas Carol it happens as follows:

Mention about the funeral of Marley makes me return back to the beginning of my story. There was no doubt that Marley is dead. It should be comprehended because there will be no extraordinary thing in the occasion which I am going to tell. If we doubted that Hamlets father was dead until the raising of the curtains, then his night walks under the burst of the eastern wind would not amaze us such as appearing of any other gentleman in the dark empty place, - for example in the cemetery of St. Peter.

Or it can be said also about Toby in The Chimes, when author describes his inconveniences in his work as messenger, and poor Tobys struggle with the northern wind:

“The wind, especially northern, was striking him with frenzy from the corner, as if purposely came from nowhere to slap in his face… his cane was vainly taken by him to fight with the bad weather. Soon, his weak legs began horribly shake, he was turning to the right, then to the left, he shivered, he bent but nothing helped him. He was terribly exhausted, tormented, hackneyed, he hardly stood on his legs that fortunately was not taken up and thrown down by the wind hundred times like the frogs, snails or other ugly creatures.

The hero, who is described with jokes by the author, can not be tragic hero, and if only unhappiness follows him, it reminds us about the happy outcome of the story.

But not only the narrative intonation gives especially comfortable, “domestic” mood to the Charles Dickens stories. The attitude to the phenomena of the world, to the life is full conformity with this intonation. Here it is described special form of the myth of the home, where the action and dead subordinated Gods will of the “little world”.

All the accidents are valued by the listeners sitting around the fireplace. There is nothing worse to them than the cold winter night, sharp wind, the fog or the slush. Idyll of Christmas consists of idolized dot of the light in the darkness of the night. That is why the description of the city moving from one source of the light to the other: brightened shops, the windows of the houses, lantern. The reality is divided into two visual and sharply limited spheres lightened and darkened, that some kind of treatment of the light settled down concordant to this principle. However, even “big nature” is lowered to the domestic environment by the corresponded methods.

The description of the fog in the streets of London is as follows:

“Watching these dark clouds, coming down and enveloping the surrounding everything with the deep darkness, it seems that the Nature is settled somewhere so near.”

Thus, Dickens creates a world of original artificial, idyll reality in his Christmas stories which attracts to its sphere only what is taken from the darkness of the “big world” and what can be brighten the family life with the reconciliatory fire.

In this “domestication” of any theme, even more horrible and serious, the main thing is Charles Dickens humor. This is special holiday relation to the life, reducing all everyday disturbances to the absence of the fun and fried turkeys, and all happiness of the life to their presence.

The special kind of “culinary” humor of Charles Dickens is created to soften, dissolve the comic, and “domesticate” any theme, even the horrible or traditionally severe theme.

The most horrible things in Dickens creative activity can seem very comfortable, “family” thanks to his humor.

In “Master Humphreys Clock”, in the introductory chapters, where we again meet the heroes of “Pickwick Papers” with Mr. Pickwick and his servant described the story about middle-ages prosecutions, burning and drowning of the old women who were suspected in diablerie. This is typical sample for Dickens to outplay the history humorously and also characteristic example of his “culinary” aspect of humor at all.

That is what we read about the prosecution of the witches in this story:

“Windsor was very little town in that time, but it was possible to guess that this town also did not avoid the general infection, raged in all over the England. In the birthday of a king, Windsor people welded one witch in a boiler and sent one bottle of this broth to the king with the congratulation addressing. The king, little bit scared of this gift, submissively gave it to the archbishop of Canterbury and answered to the congratulation with the message, where he explained golden rules of catching the witches…” and so on.

In the absolute grotesque-“culinary” aspect treated the theme of the suicide (here we can not talk about the serious treatment of the suicide, but about the anecdotic meaning in the history), told to Pickwick by Sam Weller. This story is about a gentleman, owner of the sausage factory, whose wife tormented him, and he ran into melancholy and throws himself into the sausage machine and was made to the sausages. His wife had no idea about this accident and though that he went away to America, for this reason she published newspaper advertisements addressing to his husband to make him come back and that she “forgave” him everything. But when suddenly one unfamiliar gentleman came to her and told that he found the button in the sausage and when she recognized that this is button of her husbands trousers, she understood the “frightening truth”.

And that time, the grotesque humor of Charles Dickens does not destroy plausibility of the happenings. Emphasized, naked fantastic of the Christmas stories (both humorous and pathetic) nevertheless, maintains in Dickens visibility of realism.

3. Critic views of the stories “Somebodys Luggage” and “Mrs. Lirripers Lodgings”.


The power of Dickens is shown even in the scraps of Dickens, just as the virtue of a saint is said to be shown in fragments of his property or rags from his robe. It is with such fragments that we are chiefly concerned in the Christmas stories. Many of them are fragments in the literal sense; Dickens began them and then allowed someone else to carry them on; they are almost rejected notes. In all the other cases we have been considering the books he wrote; here we have rather to consider the books that he might have written. And here we find the final evidence and the unconscious stamp of greatness, as we might find it in some broken bust or some rejected moulding in the studio of Michael Angelo.

These sketches or parts of sketches all belong to that period in his later life when he had undertaken the duties of an editor, the very heavy duties of a very popular editor. He was not by any means naturally fitted for that position. He was the best man in the world for founding papers; but many people wished that he could have been buried under the foundations, like the first builder in some pagan and prehistoric pile. He called the Daily News into existence, but when once he existed, he objected to him strongly. It is not easy, and perhaps it is not important, to state truly his cause of his incapacity. It was not in the least what is called the ordinary fault or weakness of the artist. It was not that he was careless; rather it was that he was too conscientious. It was not that he had the irresponsibility of genius; rather it was that he had the irritating the responsibility of genius; he wanted everybody to see things as he saw them. But in spite of all this he certainly ran two great popular periodicals Household Words and All the Year Round the enormous popular success. And he certainly so far succeeded in throwing himself into the communism of journalism, into the nameless brotherhood of a big paper, that many earnest Dickensians are still engaged in picking out pieces of Dickens from the anonymous pages of Household Words and All the Year Round, and those parts which have been already beyond the question picked out and proved are often fragmentary. The genuine writing of Dickens breaks off; I fancy that we know it.

The singular thing that some of the best work that Dickens ever did, better than the works in his best novels can be found in these slight and composite scraps of journalism. For instance, the solemn and self-satisfied account of the duty and dignity of a waiter given in the opening chapter of Somebodys Luggage is quite as full and fine as anything done anywhere by its author in the same vein of sumptuous satire. It is as good as the account which Mr. Bumble gives of out-door relief, which “properly understood, is the parochial safeguard. The great thing is to give the paupers what they dont want, and then they never come again.” It is as good as Mr. Podsnaps description of the British Constitution, which was bestowed on him by Providence. None of these celebrated passages in more obviously Dickens at his best than this, the admirable description