A Christmas Carol
Adored by both
the public and critics, A Christmas Carol
was immediately adapted to the stage, and by February 1844, eight theater
productions of the story were running in
Dickens was a strong proponent of humane treatment for the poor, noting that the condition was thrust upon them by the growing industrialization of cities. In A Christmas Carol, Dickens punctuates his strong beliefs at the turning point of Ebenezerís journey, when Ignorance and Want are personified as helpless children huddled under the skirts of the enormous Ghost of Christmas Present. To keep his message alive, Dickens began publishing Christmas stories each year with similar themes to A Christmas Carol, but he never felt that they were as strong. Dickens stopped his regular Christmas publications after 1848 and instead began giving spoken performances of a shortened version of A Christmas Carol. Dickens performed the readings 127 times up until the year of his death. Actor Lionel Barrymore revived Dickensí tradition by giving annual Christmas radio show performances of the story, performed seventeen times between 1934 and his death in November 1954.
Dickens expressed the following words of hope for his story in its introduction. Today, he would find that his modest work has fulfilled his dream to untold lengths. A Christmas Carol in prose being A Ghost Story of Christmas: I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.