A Very Dickens Christmas Read-Along discussion

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The Christmas Stories > The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton

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message 1: by Sherri (new)

Sherri (marathonsun) | 11 comments Boy, if this doesn't scare you into the Christmas season I don't know what would! Enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one!


message 2: by Jana (new)

Jana (penguininabluebox) I totally agree, Sherri! I just read it and I really, really liked it. It was a pretty scary one though, but such beautiful writing. Dickens is by far my favourite classic author and he proves it again and again with every book or story of his that I read.


message 3: by Katie (new)

Katie It's been a LONG time since I've read Dickens (the horror!), and I remember his writing being more challenging to read. Just goes to show what age does to a person, and things you couldn't enjoy or appreciate in your youth, can take on new life when re-visited years later.

I enjoyed this story overall, and the "moral of the story" message was crystal clear. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the goblins, and found I had a very crisp image of them in the mind - which is great, especially for such a short story.

One thing I often struggle with in short stories in general, is I find there is very little character development, which is my main love when reading. It speaks to Mr. Dickens' writing here, that not only were the image of the goblins well developed, but I also was able to get a clear sense of the character of Gabriel Grub.


message 4: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrib) Such great images in this story! I could see it all in my mind so clearly. I even got a bit of a chill with the descriptions of the snow and frost. Dickens is good at telling morality tales of redemption. Glad I read it!


Kailey (Luminous Libro) (luminouslibro) I remember reading this story in an anthology of Christmas stories as a child, and there was an illustration of the goblin that gave me nightmares!
It's peculiar to read it again as an adult, and remember those strange feelings I had as a child of liking the story, but being frightened of it too.

It's certainly a haunting and bizarre story! I was especially struck as a child by the goblins repeating Gabriel Grub's name in a sing-song chant. It's just so creepy and strangely fascinating. Imagine if I heard them one night chanting MY name! Agh!

I was disappointed that Grub doesn't return to the village, apologize to the boy he hurt, and repair his relationships with his neighbors. Why did he have to go away to start his new life? That might have been easier, but not the brave or right thing to do, I think. Dickens let him off easy with just rheumatism, IMO.

Delightful story! Can't wait to keep reading the rest.


message 6: by Rosa (new)

Rosa Barretta | 2 comments This was the first story I've ever read by Dickens. I can't believe how creepy he can make a story about Christmas. I kind of pictured it in my head as a Tim Burton movie, especially with the goblins singing/chanting Gabriel's name; I immediately thought of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I agree with you, Kailey. I didn't like that he didn't go back to the village and start his life over there. I would've liked if he made amends with everyone, mainly the little boy. I cringed reading that part!


message 7: by Jana (new)

Jana (penguininabluebox) It's really funny, I also had a really strong Tim Burton association with the chanting!

What kind of strikes me is reading some of you being so scared of the goblin. I can see it character-wise of course, but there was an illustrationof him in my copy that reminded me a lot of Puddleglum from CS Lewis's The Silver Chair because I used to own a copy of it as a child in which Puddleglum was illustrated similarly to the goblin in my copy, which made the goblin quite a bit less scary to me.. The power of illustrations, huh?


Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) (listobsessed) | 5 comments This was a lot of fun! And definitely big on atmosphere. Like others I particularly enjoyed the scene in the graveyard with the goblins chanting.

There are some things I want to say in relation to this that are spoilery for A Christmas Carol, so I will have to remember them for when we have all read that one as well.


The Rudie Librarian (Brian) (therudielibrarian) LOVED this story. I have been trying to re-read A Tale of Two Cities and having a hard time. It's been so long since I read something as difficult as Dickens. It's nice to stretch my reading ability back to what it once was. This is a nice tool to stretch that reading ability. I am super excited to read the next one now.


message 10: by Rhiannon (new)

Rhiannon (bookworm21) | 2 comments I read this last night and Dickens does description very well which you don't get in short stories I found I had chills down my spine when reading this it felt weird reading a scary story set around Christmas time I am looking forward to reading the rest of the stories in the coming weeks and I found the writing easy to understand and follow.


message 11: by Katie (new)

Katie Samantha wrote: "Just finished! Really enjoyed this one! I agree with what you all have said, Dickens imagery, even in such a short story is astounding! He has a way of creating atmosphere that really helps to imme..."

I appreciate the information that it used to be tradition to read/tell ghost stories on Christmas back in the day... makes a little more sense actually. As I was reading I found it odd that there were goblins in a Christmas story, so now knowing this, gives me a little context.


message 12: by Jenni (new)

Jenni (jennikreads) | 2 comments I don't think I've read any Dickens... which is kind of shameful with how much I love classics. He does do a fantastic job creating imagery in such a short story. I enjoyed it.


message 13: by Titta (new)

Titta (throughbookshelves) | 4 comments I just finished reading this and enjoyed it. I was actually little surprised how short it was, I haven't really read any short stories before so I thought it would be little longer. I agree with the others that Dickens describes everything very well, even though I wasn't that scared of the goblins, I found them to be more fascinating to me. Also he should have gone back and apologized to the kid, now he just got off too easy.

Can't wait to read the rest stories and see what happens in them!


message 14: by Filipe (new)

Filipe (filipeheath) Just finished and i have to say that i didnt understand most of it .. Being Portuguese with english reading skills , i thought i would but i didnt .. I did like the descriptions but i still have a lot to learn about reading classics :)


message 15: by Danne (last edited Nov 22, 2014 06:01PM) (new)

Danne Cole (dannecole) | 2 comments This was my first Dickens story besideds the movie adaptations of his work. I really enjoyed it. He definitely has a great writing style that puts the reader right in the story. I felt creeped out and also a slight Christmas charm. I'm looking forward to the next story.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Rose (shadowsahara) | 1 comments Loved this one. Beautiful writing. Great moral. Very creepy christmas spirit vibe. I like how it's set up as a folk story that has been told for generations. I do feel like the story is kind of missing something by the end but taking previous statements in mind, I can't complain and I do think that it is overall great work (-:


message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma Organdie (organdie) I had not read this one before and I absolutely loved it! Very vivid writing as always, and a great little story. Looking forward to the next one. I think this read-a-long will definitely get me in the mood for Christmas! :)


message 18: by Mpauli (new)

Mpauli Although I was a little late, I finished it as well. As others have mentioned, the atmosphere and the clear depiction of the scene was able to draw me in right away.

Besides the morale of enjoying the little things in life, I also had the feeling that there was a slight morale towards alcohol abuse.
Grub is depicted as a man drinking, cause he is alone. In contrast, the happy father of the family brings home food, so the good guy is associated with eating and the bad one with drinking.
Therefore it was quite fitting that the goblins used liquid fire to punish him and Grub was forced to drink that.

And regarding to alcoholism, I can see why Grub left the town. It is often helpful to get a clean start to get clean.
On another note, it also shows the ability of getting a fresh start. In Dicken's times it wasn't that common, I think, to leave your own town or change jobs and living situations as often as we do. Therefore the morale of being able to turn your life around, even if you've been through hell and back again is quite optimistic.


message 19: by Sophie (new)

Sophie I've just finished this one (I'm slightly behind I know!) and I have to say you lot have said it all. I don't think I need to say anything else. :)


message 20: by Angie (new)

Angie (aseagreen) Just Finished this story, and it being the first story by Charles Dickens that I've read, I've got to say that I really enjoyed it!

I started this story late at night before bed, and I can't decide if that was a good idea or not haha! As I was reading through the Goblin's chants, I got chills and a little scared by what was happening to Gabriel Grub.

Nonetheless, I really loved this story, and its moral. Despite being a short story, I felt like Dickens did a great job portraying Grub's character!


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