There are many wonderful stories that encapsulate the Christmas spirit, and emphasize the potential for human goodness and decency. These stories are time-honored traditions in the month of December, and I’m sure many of you have favorites that are sacrosanct for you and your families. Perhaps there has not been a more retold Christmas story than the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, featuring the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge. Upon recently teaching this class to my freshmen students, I was struck by the similarities between Scrooge and the correspondingly conflicted Darth Vader. Perhaps they are not as dissimilar as one might originally think.

Written in 1843, Dickens’ novella showcased the hardships endured by the destitute of England, and is best known for the aforementioned Scrooge and his journey of self discovery through his experiences with his past, present, and future. Scrooge, as most are aware, is the aptly named cantankerous, apathetic miser, who is as stingy with his money as he is with the spirit of generosity. He is visited by three spirits, and through these famous encounters, learns to embrace his humanity, and to look beyond himself and his pain. His sense of goodness and compassion, long dormant, is joyfully resurrected, revealing his true self.

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