Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Christmas Carol Trivia

Gift Challenge #4

Most of us think of A Christmas Carol as a morality play; actually, it is a political stance. Dickens’ play attacks a popular Victorian thought: to feed the poor would only encourage reproduction to take advantage of the extra food. This thought, known as Malthusian, named for the British social thinker Thomas Malthus.

In the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, author Thomas C. Foster explains the history:

Dickens caricatures this Malthusian thinking in Scrooge’s insistence that he wants nothing to do with the destitute and that if they would rather starve than live in the poorhouse or in debtor’s prison, then, by golly, “they had best hurry up and do it and decrease the excess population.” Scrooge actually says that. What a guy!

The photo above depicts my favorite Scrooge, actor Alastair Sim.