Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was published in 1843 and has been reprinted and adapted into other mediums many times since its publication. The enduring popularity of the story can perhaps be traced to our desire to believe that people are capable of change and personal growth. This idea is illustrated through the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge.
The fiction of Charles Dickens also offered insightful social commentary. According to his biographers, one of his chief concerns related to the negative impact of industrialization on the lives of children. This concern motivated his writing of A Christmas Carol, and in Dickens’ sympathetic portrayal of Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family.
Using a recent Toronto map which classifies neighbourhoods by the number of children living in poverty (as defined by food bank visits), I explained to students how the issue of social inequity illustrated in A Christmas Carol can still be found in Toronto today. The map illustrates at a glance how many children throughout the city depend on food and clothing banks. I thanked students for their ongoing commitment to our community service initiatives and urged them to continue helping others throughout the year, as it does make a difference in the lives of many people throughout the city.