[Created for English 394 (The Victorian Novel from Dickens to Hardy) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada].

A. Read pages 45-48 in the Penguin edition of A Christmas Carol, then attempt to answer the questions following in the spaces provided. Although you may choose to answer in point-form, please be neat: your answers will be evaluated. Afterwards, form groups as instructed, and proceed with the co-operative learning exercise.

B. As a Group:

1. Clear up any difficult words and phrases encountered during individual reading.

2. Reach consensus on the authorial intention ('theme') of the passage or passages in your group's assignment.

3. Elect one committee member to serve as scribe in order to record the discussion.

4. When discussing each of the questions, reformulate your answers as complete sentences.

5. Before making your report to the class, peer-edit the group's responses to all questions.

6. When ready to make your report to the class, so indicate to your instructor.

7. Before you begin your report, indicate who was in your group and who served as the scribe.

8. If the group accepted one member's answer without alteration or addition, give that member credit in the report.

C. Grading as a Group (25 marks)

1. Co-operation: how well did your group move towards consensus without neglecting any of its members Ideas?

2. Clarity: how clear were your group's spokespersons in presenting your ideas?

3. Quality of Answers: when weighed against the answers of other groups, how complete and well-reasoned were yours?

4. Overall Effectiveness: how dynamic and interesting a presentation did your group make?

5. Understanding: what level of understanding of literary terms and of the questions posed do your group's answers reveal?

C. 1 2 3 4 5

1. Poor Weak Passable Good Excellent

2. Poor Weak Passable Good Excellent

3. Poor Weak Passable Good Excellent

4. Poor Weak Passable Good Excellent

5. Poor Weak Passable Good Excellent

From the manuscript of Edward Stirling's A Christmas Carol, Lord Chamberlain's manuscript 27/01/44 (produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 5 February, 1844).

Probably in exchange for a gratuity and some measure of control over the production, Dickens gave his sanction.to the Adelphi's adaptation (for which it would legally owe the original author nothing). Since the early numbers of The Pickwick Papers in 1836, Dickens had been quite aware that his works could be pirated by the stage, so that his complaint to his business agent John Forster that he had not anticipated his story would have such a fate is not to be taken at face value. He proclaimed Stirling's Carol, a burletta, "heart-breaking." "Yet O. Smith [Scrooge] was drearily better than I expected. It is a great comfort to have that kind of meat underdone" (The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens, 21 February 1844).

Stave 1. Scene 1st.


Scrooge[']s Chamber

Scrooge: Looking over a 1edger/ Losses, losses. this it is to
trade, to venture one's gold in merchandise, to
risk the gains of a life upon the treacherous deep.
Draw as it were the ends of the earth together and
for what[?] to feed co[r]morants with luxuries they
ne[']er intend to pay for. Old Marley was too lenient,
if he had lived much longer this firm of
Scrooge, Marley and Co[.] would have figured in
the gazette.

Enter Frederick.

Fred: A Merry Christmas [,] Uncle. Heaven save you [!]

Scrooge: Christmas. Bah! Humbug.

Fred: Christmas a humbug, Uncle. You don't mean that[,] I'm sure.

Scrooge: And what right have you to be merry [?] You[']re poor enough[.]

F[red]: What right have you to be dismal[?] You are rich enough.

Scrooge: Bah[!]

Group Discussion Questions

1. What has the dramatic adaptor chosen to cut from the text?

2. What has Stirling added to Dickens's original?

3. Why has Stirling made the above changes?

4. What is the difference in tone between the original and the dramatic adaptation?

5. What would Dickens have found to admire in this opening?

6. Which opening is more effective and why, the original's or the burletta's?

Victorian Web Overview Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

Last modified May 21, 2003