The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens


21/12/2022



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You can’t beat a classic at Christmas, especially if it’s a Charles Dickens one. However, I missed the Christmas connection somewhere, other than the story being published as one of Dickens’ Christmas books on 20 December and it is set in January. Nevertheless, I read it anyway.

The subtitle is ‘A Fairy Tale of Home’ and it is a light domestic tale about insecurity and redemption. A  married couple share an affectionate and caring relationship, but the husband fears that the age gap between them could be a problem. Age is referenced often and by different characters, so he is quick to believe that his young wife would have an affair with a younger man.

The usual Dickens creativity is here: caricatured characters, aptly named, and an unmistakable opening. This involves a kettle that sings and shows a personality, indicating a lighter theme than some his other works. There is a contrast between the ugly rich people and good, happy and decent poor folk, but the social issues end there.

The Fairy Tale element comes in the form of a cricket, that chirps musically when things are going well, but remains silent when things are not so good. It sits on the hearth like a good luck charm and has potential supernatural powers to ensure domestic harmony.

A witty, uplifting tale suitable for the season of goodwill. Enjoy.

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Originally published by Bradbury and Evans on 20 December 1845. This edition published on 11 August 2022.

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Published at Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:00:00 +0000

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