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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Writing Assignment
Purpose: Like so many classic works of literature, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is far more
than it appears. On the surface, it is a ghost story about Christmas--and by today's standards, largely any
reader knows the story even if they've never read it.
But the new movie out during Thanksgiving week this year, The Man Who Invented Christmas, directed
by Bharat Nalluri, is correct in at least its title...Charles Dickens brought Christmas out of the cellar of the
Western conscience and made it center-stage. To this day in the west, Christmas as a religious holiday for
Christians, or as a secular festival for non-Christians and the Holiday's dual roots of Christianity and
Paganism were made real by Dickens in this small book.
For our purposes, I certainly encourage you to enjoy the story as the author intended when he wrote it in
1843, as a celebration of the heart of what Christmas meant to him and many others. But if you don't
celebrate Christmas, or if your religious beliefs differ, that's no matter. We still have here a book that
deals with some significant and universal themes. For our purposes in your writing, we'll look at three of
those themes in particular: Time, Isolation and Transformation.
Directions: You will do a series of three Readers Responses as we read A Christmas Carol together and
discuss the book. As a novella, a short novel, Charles Dickens sought first and foremost to entertain
people--but he also sought to reflect important social issues, as he did in all his writing. This time he was
using the Christmas holiday, which was not as popular as it is now, as a backdrop. But his writing-
through characters like Scrooge, Marley, Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Christmas Present, turned Christmas
into the roaring western Holiday now celebrated around the world by Christians and non-Christians alike.
Alternatively-you may do a presentation for your readers response working with one partner. Rather than
write your response, you will discuss it with the classusing a visual of some kind and following these
same parameters. You are encouraged to engage the class if you choose this alternative. One presentation
is worth two responses, but must include discussion of two themes.
These responses are not discussions-as your work with the Canterbury Tales were. These writings are
thesis and quote driven and will focus on your impression of several themes that run through the novella
and your task for each one is to write a page or more of commentary after you have written a passage or
quote on which to focus and then given a short (1 to 3 sentence) summary of the context and content of
that passage.
Use a bold type heading for each section followed by a colon (i.e. Theme:
Quote: Summary: Commentary:) and then write. The commentary needs to be based on the theme for
each response and should be written formally using proper paragraph, grammar and MLA structure.
Base your responses on our discussions in class, notes you take, reading you do and insights you have to
each of these ideas. There are certainly more than three themes--and you're welcome to touch on those as
they intertwine with the three here. Primarily, your commentary should seek to enlighten, discover,
inquire and discuss each of the themes and the ideas they inspire in your reading and, as you write.
The themes you are to write about in order are: Time, Isolation, and Transformation.
Each response is worth 50 points--for a total of 150 points for all three. The writing rubric you have
in the packet you received in late August is how I will grade these responses.
Mark Storer (SAMPLE)
Dec. 8, 2017
Period 1, English 4
A Christmas Carol Readers Response 1
Theme: Time
Quote: Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls One.
Couldnt I take em all at once, and have it over, Jacob? hinted Scrooge.
Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke
of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember
what has passed between us!

Summary: Marleys visit is the moment we learn that time is being manipulated. Here, Marley
announces to Scrooge that the ghosts will visit him at different hours, seemingly during three
different nights. But it is an illusion.
Commentary: Scrooge has been introduced to us and we already feel we know him. We dont
know how old he is, but we guess fairly easily that he is older than 50.(continue writing
hereone full page or more of commentary).