An-Najah University Journal for Research - B (Humanities)


This article offers a cultural rereading of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843) within a contemporary socio-economic Palestinian context where the rift between classes and the plight of child poverty and vagrancy, in particular, have become rampant. In Dickens’s novella, Christmas Eve in London becomes a significant time of redemption, benevolence, and sharing. It is a time which provokes the dilemma of child destitution and displacement in the mid-Victorian society, inviting successful yet penny-pinching businessmen like Scrooge to reconsider their religious values, wisdom and, overall, human benignity. This article re-imagines and re-contextualizes the setting of A Christmas Carol in Palestine, especially in the city of Bethlehem, a place which also brings to the fore questions about present-day child loss, beggary and pauperism. Here, Dickens’s Tiny Tim also epitomizes the Palestinian child whose existence hinges on the paradox of being an innocent citizen of Bethlehem, the city which ostensibly carries meanings of justice and communal living, as well as becoming an impoverished street outcast. Overall, this article seeks to employ Dickens’s text in order to criticize the current socio-economic conditions of children in the Palestinian society which fundamentally continues to fail to contain the crisis of displaced, needy children due to political strife.