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: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

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