What Would Dickens Think of Demons in A Christmas Carol?

This post isn’t about whether the movie — which I haven’t seen — is good or bad, but whether a certain scene is or ain’t Dickensian…

Here’s an excerpt from MSNBC’s review of Jim Carrey’s new CGI-animated “Christmas Carol” movie:

…surely Dickens never intended to have a tiny Scrooge running through drainpipes while being pursued by a demonic coach-and-six, no matter how much the chase pops out of the screen.

He may not have intended it, but I think he might dig it. I haven’t seen the movie or the scene in question, but Dickens liked demons — or Goblins, at least — just fine. In fact, this description reminded me of the Christmas Carol warm-up that was in the Pickwick Papers: THE STORY OF THE GOBLINS WHO STOLE A SEXTON.

‘Again the mysterious voices replied, “Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!”

‘”I am afraid my friends want you, Gabriel,” said the goblin, thrusting his tongue farther into his cheek than ever—and a most astonishing tongue it was—”I’m afraid my friends want you, Gabriel,” said the goblin. ….

‘”I—I—am afraid I must leave you, Sir,” said the sexton, making an effort to move.

‘”Leave us!” said the goblin, “Gabriel Grub going to leave us. Ho! ho! ho!”

‘As the goblin laughed, the sexton observed, for one instant, a brilliant illumination within the windows of the church, as if the whole building were lighted up; it disappeared, the organ pealed forth a lively air, and whole troops of goblins, the very counterpart of the first one, poured into the churchyard, and began playing at leap-frog with the tombstones, never stopping for an instant to take breath….

The sexton’s brain whirled round with the rapidity of the motion he beheld, and his legs reeled beneath him, as the spirits flew before his eyes; when the goblin king, suddenly darting towards him, laid his hand upon his collar, and sank with him through the earth.

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One Response

  1. I have mixed feelings about it, based on this description. You’re right, though, Dickens wasn’t automatically opposed to such a thing.

    For my own part, I’m perfectly willing to give it a shot. We’ll see.

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