09 December 2012

Day 9 of Nightlight Readings: The Cricket on the Hearth

Ah, Dickens, I melt when I think of his pros. Every year I try to read one of his popular Christmas short stories, most often "A Christmas Carol," but another one in the repertoire is "The Cricket on the Hearth." When Dickens first began his work, he primarily planned to create a periodical on the home called The Cricket, and soon found it develop into a Christmas novella. Unlike his other writings, this short story was focused simply on a domestic Christmas setting with a simplistic hero. The story was released in December 1845 and was originally titled "1846," which helped the sells soar in the New Year. For years it was more popular than "A Christmas Carol," until Russian leader Vladimir Lenin walked out of a performance and called it too sentimental and idyllic. 

The story goes of a young family, John and Dot Peerybingle and baby, and a cricket that constantly chirps on the hearth, acting as the family's guardian angel. The young family intersects with the life of a toy maker, who's young son is presumed dead after a trip to South America. The son's betrothed is then scheduled to marry the toy maker's boss, Mr. Tackleton. Dot is later seen embracing a young man and John accuses her of being unfaithful. It is soon revealed that the young man is the toy maker's son and Mr. Tackleton, a miser much like Ebenezer Scrooge, ends up having a change of heart and allows the toy maker's son rejoin his true love. 

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