I'm assuming everyone is pretty familiar with this story, so I'm not being cautious about spoilers. Consider yourself warned.
In Staves II and III of A Christmas Carol, we meet the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. First, I have to admit a puzzling moment I had when reading Stave I. Marley says Scrooge will be visited by a different spirit during each of the next three nights. Wait a minute! Doesn't he wake up the next morning having been visited by all three? Doesn't he go to make his amends on Christmas Day? How can it take three nights when tomorrow is Christmas? Well, time is a funny thing in A Christmas Carol. I was reassured almost immediately in Stave II when Scrooge awakens that same night two hours before he went to bed. What happened? Spirit time isn't the same as human time apparently.
Okay, back to Scrooge's encounters with the Ghosts. Though it seems Scrooge's childhood wasn't necessarily wonderful, his earliest memories are his fondest. It's sad to see the turn his life takes. I was happy, though, to see that he was quickly picking up on the lessons being taught by both Ghosts.
During Stave III, I had my first moment of slight frustration with Dickens' penchant for descriptive passages. I wanted to get to the Cratchit family Christmas, but was forced to learn a lesson of my own (patience) as Dickens spent the better part of three pages describing the comings and goings of the townsfolk. I was well-rewarded, however, when the Ghost of Christmas Present and Scrooge finally arrived at the Cratchit home. What a beautiful family. They are so appreciative for what they have even though it is very little. I actually teared up a little reading that section.
Though A Christmas Carol wasn't serialized in a periodical like many of Dickens' works, I see the tell-tale signs of an author accustomed to working in that format. He expertly creates anticipation for the next section of his work. The sentence that finishes Stave III has me dying to continue on to Stave IV ahead of schedule.
As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him.How am I to resist?
Readalong : A Christmas Carol : Stave I
Readalong : A Christmas Carol : Staves IV & V