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A Christmas Carol: Comparative Analysis of the Book and the Movie

There are always differences between novels and movies which are based upon these novels. A Christmas Carol (1999) is a movie based on the classic literary piece by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol is a movie based on the life of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is an extremely miser person who does not like to spend his money on anyone else. This essay intends to unveil the similarities and differences between “A Christmas Carol”(Jones et al., 1999), which is a movie with the classic story by Charles Dickens(Dickens, 1906).

A significant similar aspect of the movie and the story is the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. Firstly, in both (movie and the book) media, the character of Ebenezer Scrooge is shown as an insensitive, miser, and rude person. We can analyze the interaction between Fred and the two men asking for money. Secondly, the ghost of his old friend Marley (A business partner who has died) incites the conflict in the plot. Marley’s ghost provokes evolutionary changes in Scrooge’s life. In both forms of media, the ghost of Marley appears in front of Scrooge to warn him of his cruel behavior, which will lead him to a dreadful ending in his life. Marley shows Scrooge his grave to make him realize his mistakes. Scrooge starts to realize his mistakes and horrible nature. Thirdly, in both forms of media, the protagonist realizes the significance of sharing happiness and love with others. Scrooge understands the true meaning of Christmas through the same series of events in the movie and the story. The major plot of the movie and the story revolves around the same characters and events. A Christmas Carol profoundly shows the social problems faced by people at that time. It gives the lesson to people that sharing with people in need is important to eternally live in the hearts of people. Scrooge’s realization is the crux of the story in both media. Despite noteworthy similarities, there are many differences between both forms of media.

There are two significant differences between the movie and the story. Firstly, the emotions and facial expressions in the movie are more strong and visible as compared to the literary piece by Charles Dickens. While reading the book, we can only imagine the facial expressions of the characters in scenes like Belle leaving Scrooge or the ghosts visiting Scrooge to show him his past events. The storybook does not show the facial expressions and emotions of Belle, Scrooge, and Marley. On the other hand, the movie covers all aspects of facial expressions and emotions. This has a great impact on the viewers. When Belle was leaving Scrooge because of his money-minded nature, her facial expressions showed pain and reluctance. She was not ready to leave him. When Scrooge saw this scene while visiting his past with the ghost, he realizes that Belle has left him because of his greedy and money-minded nature. The actress poured out her emotions when her eyes were wet. The audience can feel the pain and mistakes of Belle, Marley, and Scrooge by watching the movie. Secondly, in the book, Charles Dickens uses circumstantial details to provide a glaring picture of society (18th century) to the readers. These circumstantial details give chills to their readers while reading the story. For instance, Dickens uses horrifying details to describe the ghost who is visiting Scrooge in his dream. According to Dickens, the ghost has skinless hands and comes to visit Scrooge to make him realize his wrongdoings. However, the movie shows ghosts with skin on their hands. The movie dramatizes the seriousness of the classic story. The sensationalizing tone of the movie can be viewed in the scenes where Scrooge is visited by ghosts in his dream. The acting style, dramatizing tone, and background music subtly convey the overall theme of the movie. As explained above, the approach of the movie is a bit different from the story which impacts the overall effect of the story. The major reason for this difference is that the classic story covers the social circumstances of the 1800s. On the other hand, the movie is directed in the 1900s in when the social circumstances were better than before. In a nutshell, the movie and the classic story convey the significant aspects of the storyline in their unique ways.


Dickens, C. (1906). A Christmas carol in prose, being a ghost story of Christmas: With original art and narration by Jon Langford. Google Play Books.

Jones, D. H., Stewart, P., Grant, R. E., & Grey, J. (1999, December 5). A Christmas Carol [Drama, Fantasy]. TNT, Hallmark Entertainment.



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