Here is Scrooge gushing like a young schoolboy. He's observing a younger version of himself, abandoned in an empty boarding school at Christmas time, and the younger Scrooge is obviously reading Arabian Nights, which, if memory serves, was one of Charles Dickens' favorite books. Really, this passage is about the power of the imagination to transport a person out of a miserable life situation. Scrooge speaks about these characters as if they are real people, good friends, who stop by for a visit.
I think that's one of the reasons why I became an English professor. I love talking about books, teaching about writing. I love gushing, sort of, like Scrooge does in this scene. I'm sure I come across like some geek fanboy in the classroom sometimes. Just give me a couple of hours to talk about a favorite book like A Christmas Carol or Slaughterhouse Five, and I'll have Ebenezer Scrooge or Billy Pilgrim sitting in the room with us, having a hot dog and talking politics. That's the exciting part of the job.
For almost two months now, I've been writing about Scrooge at least once a day. I feel as if I'm really getting under his skin. I understand him when he's joyful and foolish, as in the above passage, and I'm beginning to understand him when he's cruel and vindictive, complaining about the surplus population. Reading this book this closely is like reading Scrooge's blog. He's becoming a flesh-and-blood person for me, as, I'm sure, long-time disciples of Saint Marty see me as a flesh-and-blood person, as well, even though we've never met (and probably never will). That's the power of language and literature.
|My best friend Sharon|
So, if you think of me as one of your best friends, I'll take that as a compliment. That means I'm connecting with you through my writing. You and I have a shared experience. That shared experience is language. Through words, I'm standing in front of you right now, completely unclothed, baring everything. There's an image for you.
Invite Saint Marty in for tea today. Bake him some cookies. He promises not to sit his naked ass on your sofa.