Short Story Spotlight: "The Cricket on the Hearth" by Charles Dickens

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Mr. Dickens,

It has been quite some time since we last corresponded, and I am delighted to inform you that I had the pleasure of enjoying one of your Christmas-themed short stories, "The Cricket on the Hearth." I would argue with you that it isn't truly Christmas themed, as the story takes place in late January and doesn't mention Christmas-time but instead treats of weddings and anniversaries. However, I enjoyed the story so much that I was completely willing to overlook the fact that the cheer it imparted was not, in fact, Christmas cheer -- just a general sort of cheer about love and friendship and family.

I felt John Peerybingle's insecurities along with him as he wondered how his beautiful, young wife could possibly be in love with an older man like himself. I watched his mind reel as Tackleton planted nerve-wracking suspicions into his head, watched him fight the hope that swelled up in him when the good spirit of the cricket on the hearth tried to make him see the truth. I was just as shocked as Peerybingle when he thought his suspicions to be confirmed; I couldn't believe that his faith in his wife was misplaced. I was relieved and experienced real comfort when everything was restored as it should be. I think that is your real talent, Mr. Dickens -- while at times your characters seem like comical caricatures, they bring up powerful, universal emotions. And they leave me with a feeling of satisfaction. "The Cricket on the Hearth" is the perfect story for a winter's night, curled up in a sweater and Snuggie with hot cocoa. It is even cozier than tea.

So, Mr. Dickens, our relationship keeps improving. I think friendships are a little more interesting when everyone isn't always in perfect, boring agreement. I've even come to accept my arch-nemesis, A Tale of Two Cities -- all of the false starts were worth Sidney Carton. "The Cricket on the Hearth" removed another brick from the wall between us. I hope to continue to enjoy this relationship, sir.

I remain,
Your faithful correspondent.

Post script: In case you are unfamiliar with the Snuggie in your own particular time period, it is a delightsome invention that enables ultimate warmth with the free use of the hands. It is the perfect way to read a book, if only one does not concern oneself about one's own foolish appearance. I have enclosed a photograph.


  1. Bahaha, I love it, Lorren! I've never been a Charles Dickens fan (A Tale of Two Cities is the only book I had to read for school that I never finished), but every time I force myself to read something by him, I think, "Hmmm...this isn't as bad as I remembered." This short story seems pretty interesting, actually :)

    1. Haha thanks! I have such a complicated relationship with Charles Dickens that I started writing "letters" to him whenever I read a book by him. I really hated him when I was younger but I am starting to appreciate him although he drives me CRAZY sometimes. This story was really cute and romantic, I think it is a good one!


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