OF THE BABY NAME CAROL
Carol Milford Kennicott is the title protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’ 1920 best-selling novel, Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott. Carol is a liberal, college-educated and independent young woman of her time who loves art and literature and aspires to bring some semblance of same to the small Minnesota town in which her doctor husband plants her. Thwarted at every turn by the narrow-minded townspeople, Carol finds solace in reading, friendship with a like-minded woman and in a quasi-romantic attachment to a young man. Motherhood encloses her even more within the narrow confines of her life and, in desperation, she attempts a separate life in Washington, D.C. for a few years, but is wooed back by her husband. While Carol does not admit to defeat, exactly, she does come home and take up the knitting needles again, as it were. It would be more than forty years later that The Feminine Mystique appeared on the scene, but Sinclair Lewis (the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) seems to have had an inside track on the restless dissatisfaction that has plagued women of intelligence since the dawn of time.
Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, which has given rise to numerous adaptations (as well as a cartoon character, Scrooge McDuck). Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean, cold, solitary miser, who begrudges happiness to anyone, particularly around the Christmas season. On one particular Christmas Eve, Ebenezer is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and To Come. The eye-opening scenes they depict for him make him weep for his checkered past, bemoan his present and fear his future. Scrooge is cured! He awakens with a new lease on life, and promptly begins throwing money and good cheer around in equal measures, making everyone happy. We should all be so lucky as to have such a chance at a second chance!
Timothy Cratchit (“Tiny Tim”) is the winning little crippled boy in Charles Dickens’ beloved A Christmas Carol, which introduced us to the unforgettable Scrooge. Suffering from an unspecified, progressive illness, Tiny Tim is nonetheless a courageous and cheerful little fellow. When the miserly Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, he is allowed to see how very ill Tim really is, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows him a deathbed scene of Tiny Tim. The child will surely die without the medical attention his family cannot afford (not while working for old Ebenezer, they can’t). Of course as we all know, Scrooge mends his ways, increases salaries, reconciles with family, finds a medical cure for Tim and ends all on a happy note and a quote from Tiny Tim himself: “God bless us, every one!”
Jacob Marley is a pivotal character in Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, the subject of innumerable adaptations. His character is the ghost of his former self, Scrooge’s business partner, who comes back to warn Scrooge of the dire consequences of his continued mean spiritedness. The erstwhile Mr. Marley is one heck of a ghost – he has all the trappings down. He is transparent, he rattles his chains, he moans, he shrieks, he causes mirrors to crack, bells to ring, winds to blow, small children to run in terror (well, ok, there weren’t any small children around, but still…). And after all this, does he get any respect? No, the nefarious Scrooge humbugs around and declares that Jacob Marley is probably a figment of his imagination, in fact, probably “…an undigested bit of beef.” Insult upon injury! Good Mr. Marley, however, soon convinces Scrooge of his authenticity and prepares him for the three ghosts to come, before flying out the window to continue his eternal, fruitless, remorseful roaming of the earth, paying for his sins for all time to come. We are more than a little sorry for Jacob Marley, and wish him the best on his journey. We hope he catches a break, because he did a great job.