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Tony Grist

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An Unseasonal Truth [Dec. 14th, 2008|10:21 am]
Tony Grist
I'm sorry to say it, but Dickens was wrong. The Cratchitts would have hated the new, benevolent Scrooge even more than they hated the old, miserly one. You can't buy love by turning up on the doorstep cutting capers and waving a turkey by the neck. A benefactor- especially one there's no hope of repaying- is universally despised.

I've lost friends by being kind to them- and also because they were kind to me. Gifts- big one-sided gifts- can kill a relationship. Equality is replaced by obligation. Much better to sever the link than to be reminded every time you see a person's shining face that you owe them one. They say you should give anonymously so as not to reap the gratitude; I say you should give anonymously so as not to reap the resentment.

There are times when you have no choice but to give- because it's the only moral thing to do- but you shouldn't expect a reward. Rather the reverse.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: michaleen
2008-12-14 02:25 pm (UTC)
You may well be correct and I do take your point, but in Dickens's text, the burden falls upon Scrooge, not the Cratchitts. Whether they colectively loved him for it is not stated and largely beside the point, I think. Dickens says that Scrooge became like a second father to Tiny Tim and that he was as good a friend and as good a master as the Old City ever knew. This is all the story demands that the reader believe and that, I think, is enough.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-12-14 04:06 pm (UTC)
Perhaps I am making Dickens's fable carry too much weight.

I love Dickens very much- but I do think his conclusions are sometimes (in fact rather often) more sentimental than plausible.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2008-12-15 12:22 pm (UTC)
Isn't that what we love about Dickens? He is so very sentimental, writing in a very unsentimental age.

Then as now, the most implausible aspect of the story is that Scrooge could and did change for the better. Other more practical concerns must take a back seat to that. Even the visitation by Marley's ghost on Christmas Eve seems more likely, by comparison.

I'm more than a little sentimental about Dickens's tale myself, I'm afraid. It'a personal favorite, a story that is able to represent and inspire the spirit of the season without slopping over into maudlin religious sentimentalities. Quite an accomplishment.
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