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December Week 1

Teen Reader

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

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About the Author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England on February 7, 1812. Charles was the second of eight children to John Dickens, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, and his wife Elizabeth Dickens. The Dickens family moved to London in 1814 and two years later to Chatham, Kent, where Charles spent early years of his childhood. Due to the financial difficulties they moved back to London in 1822, where they settled in Camden Town, a poor neighborhood of London.

The defining moment of Dickens's life occurred when he was 12 years old. His father, who had a difficult time managing money and was constantly in debt, was imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtor's prison in 1824. Because of this, Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work in a warehouse that handled 'blacking' or shoe polish to help support the family. This experience left profound psychological and sociological effects on Charles. It gave him a firsthand acquaintance with poverty and made him the most vigorous and influential voice of the working classes in his age.

After a few months Dickens's father was released from prison and Charles was allowed to go back to school. At fifteen his formal education ended and he found employment as an office boy at an attorney's, while he studied shorthand at night. From 1830 he worked as a shorthand reporter in the courts and afterwards as a parliamentary and newspaper reporter.

In 1833 Dickens began to contribute short stories and essays to periodicals. A Dinner at Popular Walk was Dickens's first published story. It appeared in the Monthly Magazine in December 1833. In 1834, still a newspaper reporter, he adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym Boz. Dickens's first book, a collection of stories titled Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836. In the same year he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of the editor of the Evening Chronicle. Together they had 10 children before they separated in 1858.

Dickens is best known for his novels Oliver Twist (1837-39), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861).

Charles Dickens died at home on June 9, 1870 after suffering a stroke. Contrary to his wish to be buried in Rochester Cathedral, he was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads:

"He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."


A Christmas Carol (1843)

First published on 19 December 1843 and written at a time of decline in festive tradition, A Christmas Carol became an instant classic. While the character of Ebenezer Scrooge has become the epitome of miserliness, his story of redemption reinforces expectations for Christmas Day as a time of peace and goodwill to all men.

Questions for A Christmas Carol

What message is Dicken's sending about greed? Do you think this message is still relevant to modern society? Why or why not?

Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters persons you would want to meet?

Why do you think it was important for Scrooge to travel to the past, present and future of Christmas? 

How does Fezziwig differ from Scrooge? What's his purpose in the story? 

Why do you think this story has remained so relevant over the years? 

(Questions from

Easy Reader



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