Editor's note: Last Sunday, theater critic Misha Berson wrote an essay about Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," and the messages it carries into the 21st century. Many readers responded; we...
Editor’s note: Last Sunday, theater critic Misha Berson wrote
an essay about Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,”
and the messages it carries into the 21st century.
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Many readers responded; we excerpt some of their letters here:
Misha Berson: In the past, I have not always agreed with your reviews and I believe I’ve written you with specifics to let you know. So, noblesse oblige requires that I tell you how much I enjoyed and admired your essay in the Sunday Times, “Do we really get ‘Christmas Carol’ message?” It was right on the mark, and for what it is worth from Constant Reader, I found so much good writing, I kept the article as a guide
— J. Irene Fernandes, Lake Hills
Thank you for an intelligent interpretation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and, I would say, an accurate assessment of Dickens’ political perspective on social injustices. Surely the story reveals Dickens’ deep concern for the ravages of poverty and ignorance. The two children revealed to Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Present are ghastly apparitions of a debased humanity. The girl is want, the boy ignorance. The Ghost admonishes Scrooge of the personal and societal pain that emanates from both, but the boy is especially to be feared.
Dickens was one who despised the injustices that were so systemically woven into the fabric of his own time. He would be no less critical of the social indignities suffered by the poor of our own time and place.
He would likely be horrified that such vast disparities that exist within our political order are countenanced to the degree that they are. The fact that homelessness and illiteracy exist in the most wealthy and powerful nation in human history would shock Dickens, and no doubt inspire a powerful story to flow from his prodigious pen.
— Joe Martin, Madrona
Having been involved in many productions of “A Christmas Carol,” I never tire of Charles Dickens’ story. There is a reason it has lasted these many, many decades, and it is great to be reminded how timely Dickens still is in these politically volatile times.
— Kit Harris, Capitol Hill
It’s great to see a newspaper that gives room for some deeper analytical commentary on things related to theater/literature/social history, and I hope the value of your message spurs direct action from all those who read it.
— Kathy Hsieh, Beacon Hill
I have to say [as an actor at ACT Theatre] it’s quite a pleasure and experience to go through this story every night. It’s rejuvenating. I don’t know if anyone ever told you, but there’s a small-business owner who buys one ACT performance a year and makes an entire evening out of it for his employees and their families.
They have a little dinner in the cabaret and then walk into the theater with the kids “all decked out gaily in their holiday attire.”
I remember just standing offstage in awe and listening to him in his Northwest modesty try to say what this play means to him. … He’s Fessiwig. You’re right, the whole thing is a phenomenon. I don’t know what it means. It’s like a compass. A compassion compass.
— Todd Jefferson Moore, Mt. Baker