News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mark Bennett Opinion

December 19, 2009

MARK BENNETT: Dickens’ short story still inspires us to re-examine our lives

TERRE HAUTE — Scrooge was lucky.

He realized his mistakes, acknowledged them, and made things right — just in time.

For most of us, visits from ghosts of our Christmases past, present and future are rare these days. And our BFFs — a.k.a. the ghost of Scrooge’s fellow skinflint and ex-business partner, Jacob Marley, in Charles Dickens’ book “A Christmas Carol” — seldom tell us the truth we need to hear, as Marley does.

Instead, it’s up to each of us to look at what we’ve done (the past), see how it is affecting others (the present), and change to make amends (the future). Otherwise, well, the bony finger of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, pointing toward a forgotten headstone, says it all.

Terrified, old Ebenezer begs that dark apparition to spare him, and swears he got the message as the ghosts forced him to sit through a play-by-play of his life. “I will not shut out the lessons that they teach,” Scrooge says.

Fortunately, he awakens from his prophetic nightmare safe and alive, yet shaken to the core. Scrooge changed. He kept his promises to reform. As Dickens wrote, he “was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more.” Scrooge apologized, too. To the man who sought a donation for the poor the day before, only to be harshly rejected, Scrooge said, “Allow me to ask your pardon.”

In Dickens’ two-sentence note to readers in his preface to “A Christmas Carol,” he hoped the book would “haunt their house pleasantly.”

It has. His original 66-page manuscript has endured for 166 years. The book, amazingly, has never gone out of print. More than 20 movies are based on “A Christmas Carol,” including this season’s 3D version starring Jim Carrey. Its moral is timeless. Scrooge’s metaphorical long, hard look in the mirror applied in 1843 London, and 2009 Terre Haute.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Mark Bennett Opinion
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Today in History for April 16th Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge Combat Vehicles in East Ukraine Fly Russian Flag India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010