Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Chimes

by Charles Dickens

Buy the book here.


Plot:A poor man tries to make an honest living. One night he has a dream about dying and being shown the future by the spirits who live in the bell tower of a church. Things work out fine.

This story was written by Dickens because he was required to write another holiday story as part of a contract with a new publisher. It shows. The story feels rushed in some places (he wrote it in mere months, with a strict deadline) and lacks the overall charm typical of a Dickens piece. Unlike A Christmas Carol, no lessons are learned here and no one lives their lives differently because of the spirits. It simply shows some unfortunate things that COULD have happened, had the poor characters taken the advice of the rich characters. But none of the poor people in the story were likely to have actually taken the advice of the rich people to begin with. It's all just some silly dream.
     The tone is preachy. I know Dickens always had a message in his stories and it's impossible to ignore that message when reading. But he was usually able to straddle the thin line between getting his point across and still being entertaining. It's not a bad story, but had he taken some more time to smooth things over, build characters a little less obviously, and slow down the pace, this could have jumped back on that aforementioned line and been a truly great story.

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