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CHARLES DICKENS “CHRISTMAS CAROL”
1) to develop students’ speaking and listening skills.
2) to develop students’ imagination, visual memory.
3) to involve the students in studying the culture and traditions of the UK through Charles Dickens’ novel “Christmas Carol”
The portrait of Charles Dickens
The collage on “Life and Creative Activity of Charles Dickens”
Jumbled paragraphs, quotations, cards (with activities)
“What is this life if…”(the tenor of the event)
I am glad to greet everybody at our English literary salon. The subject we are going to speak about is Christmas in our lives through Charles Dickens’ story “Christmas Carol”. We are going to touch upon such eternal things as the good and the evil, the man and his deeds, the destructive influence of money on human souls. And now let’s pass over to Charles Dickens who is considered to be the forefather of Christmas novels. He was the first to introduce this genre into literature.
CHARLES DICKENS’ BIOGRAPHY.
(a mini-lecture using a collage)
Dickens used to say that his aim in literature was to inspire people with belief in the beautiful. He deeply believed that his destination was to touch the strings of human souls and arouse the best feelings in people. The reason for writing “Christmas Carol” was that his friend, the great economist Adam Smith, asked him to write a critical or satirical pamphlet on hard exploitation of children at factories, on awful working conditions, on long working hours. He refused to write a critical pamphlet, but said that he would write more than that using other means. And he turned his eyes on Christmas. Christmas in England is the most favourite holiday. It is connected with some peculiar traditions. On this day all the insults are forgiven and forgotten, enemies make peace, the rich shower the poor with presents.
And now take your pens and write what Christmas is for you, just the single words and say what Christmas is for you and how it is celebrated in your family.
Do you know the history of Christmas?
(cards with key words)
cards with Christmas symbols
(match the picture, find the couple and fish out the information)
The title of the story we are going to speak about is “Christmas Carol”. Do you know what carol is? Carol singing has a special history.”Carol” means “circle dance”. In ancient times caroling was a common thing at festivals. The groups would dance arm-in-arm often singing simple, happy songs. Carols became a natural way for Christians to express their joy at Christmas. Christmas carols were known in England by the year of 1100. Nowadays in small towns and villages one may see carol-singers (waits) who come and stand in front of the houses and sing Christmas carols. They expect a few pennies in return for their wishes. The famous are “We wish you a merry Christmas”, “Jingle Bells”.
(Carol singers sing the carols)
Imagine: Christmas Eve, everybody is looking forward to this holiday, people are happy, waits go caroling from house to house, children are eagerly awaiting Santa Claus’ presents. Everybody is happy except one person… You will see it yourself.
“CHRISTMAS CAROL” BY CHARLES DICKENS
A dimly-lit counting-house. Two men are sitting at their tables, one (Mr Cratchet) is working hard, the other one (Mr Scrooge –deep in thoughts) is staring at the fire-place, where a log is burning. It is very cold in the room. A young man (Mr Scrooge’s nephew) enters the room.
Nephew: A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!
Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!
Nephew: Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean that, I am sure?
Scrooge: I do. Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You are poor enough.
Nephew: Then what right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be so morose? You are rich enough.
Nephew: Don’t be cross, uncle!
Scrooge: What else can I be if I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.
Scrooge: Nephew! Keep Christmas in your own way and let me keep it in mine.
Nephew: Keep it? But you don’t keep it at all!
Scrooge: Leave me alone. Much good has it done you!
Nephew: Christmas is a good, kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time, when people around you open their shut-up hearts freely. I believe Christmas has done me good and will do me good. God bless it!
Scrooge: You are quite a powerful speaker. Why don’t you go into Parliament?
Nephew: Don’t be angry, uncle! Come and dine with us tomorrow!
Scrooge: Good afternoon!
Nephew: I want nothing from you. I ask nothing of you. Why can’t we be friends?
Scrooge: Good afternoon!
Nephew: So a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Scrooge: Good afternoon!
Two gentlemen enter the office.
Gentleman 1: Scrooge and Marley’s, I believe. Have we the pleasure of addressing Mr Scrooge or Mr Marley?
Scrooge: Mr Marley has been dead for seven years now. He died seven years ago, this very night.
Gentleman 2: At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should gather more provision for the poor, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common things and comforts.
Scrooge: Aren’t there any prisons?
Gentleman 1: Plenty of them.
Scrooge: Aren’t there any workhouses? Aren’t they in operation?
Gentleman 2: They are. I wish they were not.
Scrooge: Is the Poor Law in full vigour?
Scrooge: Oh! I was afraid to hear that something had occurred to stop them. I am very glad to hear that.
Gentleman 1: We are here to raise the fund to buy drink and means of warmth. We choose this time because it is the time when…
Scrooge: I wish to be left alone. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support workhouses and prisons and those who are badly off must go there.
Gentleman 2: But many can’t go there. They would rather die.
Scrooge: If they would rather die, they had better die. It’s not my business. It is enough for me to understand my business and not to interfere with other people’s. Good afternoon, gentlemen!
Carol singers (try enter the office with wishes and carols):God bless you, merry gentleman! May nothing you dismay! We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and Happy New Year….
Mr Scrooge seizes a ruler to throw at them, the carol singers flee in terror.
Mr Scrooge is dozing in front of the fire. Suddenly he hears a loud knock and a ghost comes into his room.
Scrooge: Humbug! Who are you?
Marley: Ask me who I was.
Scrooge: Who were you then?
Marley: In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.
Scrooge: Sit down.
Marley: You don’t believe in me.
Scrooge: I don’t. Humbug! I tell you! Humbug!
(frightful cries and shaking chains are heard)
Scrooge: Why do you trouble me? Why do spirits walk the earth and why do they come to me? You are fettered. What for?
Marley: I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard and do you know the weight and the length of the coil you are to bear yourself? Oh, it’s a ponderous chain. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. In life my spirit never walked beyond our counting-house and weary journeys lie before me now. No rest, no peace. My time is nearly up. I am here to warn you that you have a chance and hope escaping my fate.
Scrooge: You were always a good friend for me. Thank you.
Marley: You will be haunted by three spirits. Without their visits you won’t shun the fate I have.
(Marley disappears, Scrooge stands0 up, checks the locks, says humbug.)
(the same place)
Scrooge: Who are you and what are you?
Spirit 1: I am the Ghost of the Christmas Past.
Scrooge: Long past?
Spirit 1: No. your past.
Scrooge: what business brought you here?
Spirit 1: Your welfare. Rise and walk with me.
Scrooge: Good Heavens! I was bred in this place. I was a boy here.
Spirit 1: Your lips are trembling and what is there on your cheeks? You recollect it?
Scrooge: Oh, I remember it .Look, it’s me among the little ones. They wish me a merry Christmas and give me cards. They leave school for home and I am staying alone at school, a solitary child.
Spirit 1: Let’s see another Christmas.
Scrooge: Oh, look it’s my sister. She came to take me home. We were so happy together. She was kind-hearted.
Spirit 1: Yes, a delicate creature with great heart. She died young and she had a child, your nephew.
Spirit 1: One more Christmas?
Scrooge: No more. Don’t break my heart! Show me no more!
Spirit 2: I am the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Scrooge: Spirit, take me where you will. Last night I learnt a lesson and tonight if you have come to teach me let me profit by it.
Spirit 2: Touch my robe.
Scrooge: what are we doing here at the Cratchets’ place?
Spirit 2: Just watch!
(The Cratchets are at the table, eating the goose, praising the God for the food they got on this day.)
Cratchet: A merry Christmas to us all, my dears, God bless us everyone…
Scrooge: Spirit, tell me whether his tiny Tim will live.
Spirit 2: I see an empty chair. If nobody helps him the child will die.
Scrooge: No, no, say he will be saved!
Spirit 2: Why? If he should die, he had better die. Aren’t these your words? You are not to decide what man shall live and what man shall die. You may be more worthless than millions like this poor man’s child.
Cratchet: Let’s drink to Mr Scrooge who gave us this dinner, to Mr Scrooge the founder of the feast.
His wife: The founder of the feast? I wish I had him here to tell him everything I think about him-such a hard, unfeeling, stingy man.
Cratchet: My dear, it’s Christmas.
His wife: All right. Long life to him! A merry Christmas!
(Now his nephew’s place)
Nephew: Ha, ha, ha! He said that Christmas was a humbug and he believed it too!
His wife: Oh, shame for him and he is so rich.
Nephew: His wealth is of no use to him. He doesn’t do any good with it. He doesn’t make even himself comfortable with it.
His wife: I can’t bear him.
Nephew: I am very sorry for him. I couldn’t be angry with him even if I tried. He is the one who suffers from his own ill deeds. I’d like to drink for his health! A merry Christmas to him!
Scrooge: Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?
Spirit 3: (nods)
Scrooge: Are you to show me the things that haven’t happened but will happen in the nearest future?
Spirit 3: (nods)
Scrooge: Ghost of the future I fear you greatly, but I know you are here to do me good as I hope to live to be another man from what I was. I am ready to follow you.
(A crowd of people talking)
People: No, I don’t know anything about it. I only know he is dead.
--I thought he would never die.
---What has he done with the money?
----Left his company not to me.
----It is like to be a cheap funeral.
-----I don’t know if anybody will go to it.
-----Suppose we make a party and volunteer.
------I don’t mind if lunch is provided.
Scrooge: Who are they speaking about?(silence)
Scrooge: Oh, no, no. Spirit, I am not the man I was .Give me a chance to change the shadows you have shown I will honour Christmas in my heart and will keep every year. I will live in the Past, in the Present and the Future. I shall always remember the lessons you have taught me.
Jumbled paragraphs (slips of paper)
PUT THE PARAGRAPGS IN THE RIGHT ORDER.
Once upon a time – on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge was busy in his counting-house. It was cold biting weather.
I am here tonight to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. You will be haunted by three Spirits. Without their visits you will not shun the path I tread.
He was sitting alone before his fire when he heard his door-bell ring loudly and so did every bell in the house. A transparent body dragging a heavy chain turned up before him.
As soon as Scrooge walked out, Bob Cratchet closed the office and ran home as fast as he could to play at blindman’s buff.
“In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley. I wear chain made in life link by link. Mankind should have been my business. The common welfare, charity, mercy should have been my business”.
Scrooge looked out of the window. The air was filled with phantoms, wandering here and there in restless haste and moaning as they went. Everyone wore chains like Marley’s, some few were linked together, none was free. They sought to interfere for good in human mattes but had lost this power forever.
Scrooge examined the door by which the Ghost entered. Bolted the window. And being, from the emotions he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Ghost, much in need of rest; went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant.
“A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!” cried a cheerful voice.”Humbug!” said Scrooge.
Who do the following words belong to? (slips of paper)
“I have come here to bring you home. Home for good and all. Father is so much kinder than he used to be. He sent me in a coach to bring you. And you are to be a man and are never to come back to school; but first we are to be together all the Christmas long and have the merriest time in the world”.
I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year round. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all three shall strive in me. I will never shut out the lessons they teach”.
“Business?! Mankind should have been my business. The common welfare, charity, mercy should have been my business”.
“And though Christmas has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good and will do me good; and I say. God bless it!”
“Man, if man you be in your heart. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child”.
“It matters little to you, very little. Another idol has displaced me—a golden one. Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are now. And I release you. May you be happy in the life you chosen”.
His wealth is of no use to him. He doesn’t do any good with it. He doesn’t make himself comfortable with it”.
Questions for discussion (slips of paper)
a). How would you characterize Fred? Why does Scrooge say that Fred has no right to be merry? What does it say about Scrooge’s priorities in life?
b). Why does Marley “walk the Earth”? What is the significance of his fetters? What does he say about Scrooge’s own burdens expecting him?
c). What does Marley mean when he says, ”Mankind should have been my business. The common welfare, charity, mercy should have been my business. The dealings of my trade should have been a drop of water in the ocean of my business”.
d). How would you characterize Scrooge’s relationship with his sister Fan? What happened to her?
e) Why does Scrooge’s fiancée “release him”? How did it change the young Scrooge? What do you think of Scrooge’s advice to his young self “Don’t be afraid! Go after her!”
f) What is the connection between Tiny Tim’s future life and Scrooge’s trip to the future?
g) When a child comes into this world he is a blank sheet of paper and his deeds make him what he is. What do you think killed the best feelings in Scrooge?
h) We come into this world to improve it, to make life and people’s relations better and Charles Dickens deeply believed that it is not the money that makes the world go round and make people happy but love of fellow—men, humaneness. Do you agree with his point of view?
We have been with Scrooge for a night and what has happened to him?
What kind of person was he before his travels to the past and future?
(before: cruel, pitiless, wicked, miserly,..)
What kind of person did he wake up?
(after: friendly, kind, generous, merry, cheerful, considerate of others, happy…)
“I am not the man I used to be”.
“I am as light as a feather”.
“I am as happy as an angel”.
“I am as merry as a schoolboy”
“A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!”
Do you believe in possibility of abrupt changes?
But (the lines from the novel) prove it.
“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all. He raised Cratchet’s salary, helped Tiny Tim, who didn’t die thanks to his help and for him Scrooge was a second father. He became a good friend, a good master, a good man. Some people laughed to see the alternations in him, but he didn’t care about it. His own heart laughed and this was quite enough for him”.
When a man is in harmony with himself –he lives happily. When you are good to others you are good to yourself.
The wonder of Christmas – the wonder of kindness and love to people –I hope, will always be in your hearts as the good always wins in spite of all obstacles and circumstances.
The effect of this novel on people:
the queen of Norway
an American businessman)
Should we read such books nowadays?
What lessons can we learn from this story?
What is the effect of this novel on you?
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