It’s no secret that, like my father before me, I am a self–styled aficionado of all things A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen nearly every version released—I’ll get around to Zemeckis’ “animated” one when I’m good and ready—and listen every year to Sir Patrick Stewart’s classic one–man show. You could say it’s…engaging.
The redemption arc of Ebenezer Scrooge gets me every time, and it’s by turns cathartic and joyous.
Yet there is one aspect of the story that always sticks in my craw.
Nothing flowery really, just a question.
Does Jacob Marley get any sort of reprieve from his eternal torment for his act of generosity to save Scrooge?
After all, this tormented soul who wanders the Earth mourning the fact that he has lost all power to intercede for good has, by some means, appeared to his friend and arranged an evening designed to save him from a similar fate. That’s a pretty fantastic gesture of kindness and love.
We’ll ignore for the time being that both The Korean and Jar Jar Hater would argue that getting involved at all is imposing your will on others and Marley shouldn’t try to save Scrooge or anyone else. They’re happier letting Scrooge continue burning a path to Hell, but for my two cents I applaud Marley’s efforts to save his friend’s soul by giving him a gut–check to Glory.
But I do think that Marley deserves something like early parole for his good behavior. It’s selfless, it’s generous and it shows that Marley understands the cause and effect of his situation. He should get some sort of reward for this.
To defeat those that would, for argument’s sake, say that Marley isn’t doing this out of the goodness of his soul but rather forced obligation: the text says otherwise. If the text says otherwise, you lose: and I know which of you just had an “aw shucks” moment.
And One More Thing
I’ve always been fascinated with the thought of a story about Scrooge maybe five years after the events in A Christmas Carol. Because the onus is on him after that night to try to go out and change the world for a better place. He has to carry forward what he’s learned and become such a shining example that everyone else gets on the train and joins in the fun.
That’s a big burden when you think about it. And actually, I think I might start writing a little fan fiction sequel now just for kicks. Something short. Anyone interested in that?
And to all a good night…