File puptcrit/puptcrit.0909, message 110


Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 11:53:10 EDT
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Questions about "A Christmas Carol"


Non sequiturs --
 
Journeyng out to the mining country: 
 
"An old, old man and woman, with their
children and their children's  children, and another generation
beyond that, all decked out gaily in their  holiday attire.
The old man, in a voice that seldom rose above the  howling
of the wind upon the barren waste, was singing them a
Christmas  song--it had been a very old song when he was a
boy--and from time to time  they all joined in the chorus."
 
To the lighthouse:
 
"they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and
one of  them: the elder, too, with his face all damaged and
scarred with hard  weather, as the figure-head of an old ship
might be: struck up a sturdy song  that was like a Gale in
itself."
 
Out over the sea:
 
"every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or
had a Christmas  thought, or spoke below his breath to his
companion of some bygone Christmas  Day, with homeward
hopes belonging to it."
 
These are hard sections to sustain for a listening audience. The energy  
drains away.
 
I could also cut, although I like it well enough, the part in which two  
people who owed Scrooge money learn he is dead.
 
"To whom will our debt be transferred?"

"I don't know. But before  that time we shall be ready
with the money; and even though we were not, it  would be
a bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a creditor in  his
successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline!"

As to Rolande's mentioning "The reaction to his transformation various  
people have -- thinking he's gone looney... Tiny Tim is most discerning."
 
Tiny Tim may be discerning in the movies at the end, but in the book, he is 
 never actually shown reacting to Scrooge's transformation.
 
As to the best illustrated version of the book, I must give the honors to  
Ronald Searle, who got it dead right.
 
 
In a message dated 9/6/2009 9:48:10 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
puppetpro-AT-aol.com writes:

The  Nonsequitors?

I believe Dickens, writing in an age when forty words  were counted better 
than four, still kept the story fairly spare. Scenes  either support 
character development or plot, or underscore theme. Not sure  there is any fat to 
cut off.       
>From Robert:
 
I always like Dickens' description of the apartment in which Scrooge  lives:

"They were a gloomy suit of rooms, in a lowering pile of building  up a 
yard, 
where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely  help 
fancying 
it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at  hide-and-seek 
with other houses, and forgotten the way out again."
 
He brings up a point which is problematic-- should the performer work the  
narrative voice into the production? The narrator is an intrusive narrator, 
who  continually offers opinions on passing events. It is one of the most 
charming  aspects of the book. Does the performer work it in or not?
 
Examples:
 
"You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six
up a good old flight  of stairs, or through a bad
young Act of Parliament; but I mean to say  you
might have got a hearse up that staircase"
 
"as close to it as I am now
to you, and I am standing in the spirit at  your elbow."
 
"As to her, she was worthy to be his partner
in every sense of the term.  If that's not high praise, tell me
higher, and I'll use it."
 
"And yet I should
have dearly liked, I own, to have touched her lips; to  have
questioned her, that she might have opened them; to have
looked upon  the lashes of her downcast eyes, and never
raised a blush; to have let loose  waves of hair, an inch of
which would be a keepsake beyond price: in short, I  should
have liked, I do confess, to have had the lightest licence
of a  child, and yet to have been man enough to know its
value."
 
"At last, however, he began to think--as you or
I would have thought at  first; for it is always the person not
in the predicament who knows what  ought to have been done
in it, and would unquestionably have done it too--at  last, I
say, he began to think that the source and secret of this
ghostly  light might be in the adjoining room"
 
"how the lord 'was much about as tall as
Peter'; at which Peter pulled  up his collars so high that you
couldn't have seen his head if you had been  there."
 
"If you should happen, by any unlikely chance, to know a
man more blest  in a laugh than Scrooge's nephew, all I can
say is, I should like to know him  too. Introduce him to me,
and I'll cultivate his acquaintance."
 
"Stop! There was first
a game at blind-man's buff. Of course there was.  And I
no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he
had eyes  in his boots. My opinion is, that it was a done
thing between him and  Scrooge's nephew; and that the
Ghost of Christmas Present knew it."
 
Cheers,
Alice
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