The Cricket on the Hearth PDF ´ The Cricket eBook

The Cricket on the Hearth PDF ´ The Cricket eBook

The Cricket on the Hearth [Read] ➲ The Cricket on the Hearth Author Charles Dickens – Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous Christmas Carol There followed four others: The Chimes, The Cricket o Dickens gave his first formal expression on the PDF Æ to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous Christmas Carol The Cricket eBook ☆ There followed four others: The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man The five are known today as the Cricket on the Kindle Ï Christmas books Of them all the Carol is the best known and loved, and The Cricket on the Hearth, although third in the series, is perhaps next in popularity, and is especially familiar to Americans through Joseph Jefferson's characterisation of Caleb PlummerThe title creature is a sort of barometer of life at the home of John Peerybingle and his much younger wife Dot When things go well, The Cricket on the Hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow Tackleton, a jealous old man, poisons John's mind about Dot, but the cricket through its supernatural powers restores John's confidence and all ends happily.

10 thoughts on “The Cricket on the Hearth

  1. Lyn Lyn says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Everyone in our time knows about Charles Dickens’ magnificent A Christmas Carol, but he actually produced five Christmas themed stories in the 1840s, A Christmas Carol being the first.

    The Cricket on the Hearth, the third in this series, is less otherworldly than its more famous predecessor, but has magical realism elements with the Cricket as a guardian spirit and references to spirits and faeries. Charmingly domestic, this tells a simple story of love lost and found again as only the inimitable Mr. Dickens can. Loyal readers of his prose will also enjoy many other ubiquitous qualities of his writing such as complex characters (and wickedly appropriate names) social observation and comment and the long lost traveller surreptitiously come home.

    This one may not be as timeless as other of his stories, its charm is just as good. A recurring theme is class distinction and this may make this one relevant for our time as well.



  2. Bionic Jean Bionic Jean says:

    The kettle began it! Don’t tell me what Mrs. Peerybingle said. I know better. Mrs. Peerybingle may leave it on record to the end of time that she couldn’t say which of them began it; but, I say the kettle did. I ought to know, I hope! The kettle began it, full five minutes by the little waxy-faced Dutch clock in the corner, before the Cricket uttered a chirp.

    So begins The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home, and straightaway we can tell that this will be a light-hearted piece. Who else could start a novella with such aggrieved indignation by ... well we never really do learn who the narrator is. But right at the start we find ourselves in the middle of an argument between a kettle and a cricket, and it is hilarious—a real joy to read. Dickens loves to give inanimate objects life. He frequently turns a house or a chair into a quirky character with its own presence. Here is Dickens writing to his friend and mentor John Forster, of how he envisaged this charming story,

    ... a delicate and beautiful fancy for a Christmas book, making the cricket a little household god—silent in the wrong and sorrow of the tale, and loud again when all went well and happy

    And this is what begins to unfold before our eyes. A dialogue between a simple kettle and a magical cricket threads all through the story; household fairies, goblins and sprites abound, all centring around an old-fashioned hearth with an open fire, belonging to a bygone age but epitomising home, domesticity and comfort. We have wonderfully drawn characters, a mystery to solve—and we certainly do have wrong and sorrow. The whole elaborate confection is imbued with a fairytale quality.

    John and Dot beaming, useful, busy little Dot— Peerybingle, now there's a name to instil some joyful Christmas cheer. We quickly learn however that their marriage is threatened by a wide difference in their ages. This is a favourite theme of Dickens, an older husband and younger wife; the older man seeming to be a bit of a plodder and the younger wife being more vivacious and having a bit more more spirit. But who is this mysterious stranger who arrives? Here begins the element of mystery which Dickens always conjures up so well. Are there hints that Dot recognises this unexpected visitor?

    Before long we are introduced to the Ogre of the piece: a hard-hearted toymaker called Tackleton. Or pretty generally known as Gruff and Tackleton—for that was the firm, though Gruff had been bought out long ago; only leaving his name, and as some said his nature ...

    But wait, how can a toymaker be an Ogre? Read this and all will become clear,

    Tackleton the Toy-merchant, was a man whose vocation had been quite misunderstood by his Parents and Guardians ... cramped and chafing in the peaceable pursuit of toymaking, he was a domestic Ogre, who had been living on children all his life, and was their implacable enemy. He despised all toys ... delighted, in his malice, to insinuate grim expressions into the faces of brown-paper farmers who drove pigs to market ... movable old ladies who darned stockings or carved pies; and other like samples of his stock in trade. In appalling masks; hideous, hairy, red-eyed Jacks in Boxes; Vampire Kites; demoniacal Tumblers who wouldn’t lie down, and were perpetually flying forward, to stare infants out of countenance; his soul perfectly revelled.

    What an inspiration for a villain: someone who delighted in creating toys with horrible faces, and expressions which would terrify their young owners! Of course he also happens to have a none too attractive appearance and manner, and to top it off is about to marry a young innocent girl.

    As well as the merry Peerybingles and gruff old Tackleton, we have hilarious cameos in the shape of the family dog, Boxer, and Tilly Slowboy, Mrs. Peerybingle's nursemaid. Tilly Slowboy is certainly slow; a great clumsy oaf of a girl, who seems to inadvertently use the baby as a battering ram at every opportunity,

    Miss Slowboy, in her little errors of judgment, may be said to have done equal honour to her head and to her heart ... though these did less honour to the baby’s head, which they were the occasional means of bringing into contact with deal doors, dressers, stair-rails, bed-posts, and other foreign substances ... she had a rare and surprising talent for getting this baby into difficulties: and had several times imperilled its short life, in a quiet way peculiarly her own.

    There are many instances of Tilly Slowboy's antics as the text moves on, making for a very lively read. Tilly may be hitting the baby's head on something or losing it (the baby is always described as an object) under the grate. You may well find yourself laughing laughing out loud.

    We then move on to a centre section; the Second Chirp. Here is another household comprising old Caleb Plummer, a poor dollmaker working for Tackleton, and his blind daughter Bertha. This part is significantly full of pathos, and if it feels at all over-sentimental, it is worth remembering that Victorians believed such disabilities as blindness were inherited. Dickens's portrayal of the yearning feelings of Bertha, is thus a deliberate way of building yet more tension in the story, because it was not very socially acceptable for the blind to marry. By now we have several relationships which appear to have complications and problems beneath the surface. There are at least two deceptions. One seems well-meaning, appealing to our emotions despite our trepidation, but the other could indicate treachery. That one is shrouded in doubt and uncertainty.

    As the story proceeds, (view spoiler)[ John is shown what appears to be proof of Dot's infidelity (hide spoiler)]

  3. Brina Brina says:

    I attempted to read A Cricket on the Hearth for a holiday challenge in the group Reading for Pleasure. It is probably just the wrong time of year for me because I have enjoyed the other Dickens stories I have read. This is precisely why I read A Christmas Carol in October so that I could view it with an open mind. That being said, I did find out the origins of Jiminy Cricket, which I found to be touching. As with his other stories, Dickens writes social commentary about ills befalling the lower classes of London during the time in which he lived. I was especially moved by the relationship between Berta, a blind girl, and her father who are her eyes and link to the world. Yet, in the end, because this is a story written for a holiday which I do not observe, I could not read it to completion during the month of December. Perhaps I will try again next summer when there are no holidays and I can read the second half of this classic book with an open mind.

    Read 50%

  4. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    It may seem ironic that in 1845—the year the Irish potato failed, the Andover workhouse scandal began, and Friedrich Engel’s The Condition of the Working Class in England was first published—Charles Dickens decided to forgo the social criticism evident in his first two Christmas books, A Christmas Carol and The Chimes , and to concentrate on a sentimental tale of the English family instead. Perhaps Dickens was responding to criticism that The Chimes was too radical; perhaps he merely wished to develop a few narrative fragments left over from his abortive periodical The Cricket, intended to be a tribute to the English hearth and home. Whatever the reason, Cricket was popular, and profitable, though the critical reception was mixed.

    It is certainly sentimental. The middle-aged John Peerybingle, due to a set of deceptive circumstances (the sort common to sitcoms and romcoms), fears that his devoted young wife Dot—mother of his infant son—has been unfaithful to him. He is wrong of course (this is a Dickens’ Christmas entertainment, after all!), and—once confidence has been restored and tearful faces dried—the Peerybingle abode is once again what it had been: a humble, happy English home. There is the usual wealth of characters with memorable names: the loyal but reckless nanny Tilly Slowboy; the miserly old toymaker Tackleton, old Caleb Plummer who carves Tackleton’s “noah’s arks” and his blind daughter Bertha who sews the “unseeing eyes on the faces of Tackleton’s dolls. Watching over the Peerybingle household is the Cricket, the lares and penates of the English hearth, chirping his joyous and protective song.

    I enjoyed The Cricket on the Hearth, both because of and in spite of its sentimentality, but—trigger warning!—it contains passages so frolicsome, so candied, that they may be dangerous to the health of diabetic readers, particularly if they are sensitive to style. For example, take the following excerpt, where Dot Peerybingle’s wifely virtues are enthusiastically exemplified by the pains she takes to clean and fill her husband’s pipe:

    She was, out and out, the very best filler of a pipe, I should say, in the four quarters of the globe. To see her put that chubby little finger in the bowl, and then blow down the pipe to clear the tube, and, when she had done so, affect to think that there was really something in the tube, and blow a dozen times, and hold it to her eye like a telescope, with a most provoking twist in her capital little face, as she looked down it, was quite a brilliant thing. As to the tobacco, she was perfect mistress of the subject; and her lighting of the pipe, with a wisp of paper, when the Carrier had it in his mouth — going so very near his nose, and yet not scorching it — was Art, high Art.

    And the Cricket and the kettle, turning up again, acknowledged it! The bright fire, blazing up again, acknowledged it! The little Mower on the clock, in his unheeded work, acknowledged it! The Carrier, in his smoothing forehead and expanding face, acknowledged it, the readiest of all.
    It would be unfair, however, to close with this glimpse of Dickens at his worst, Dickens so close to self-parody. Instead, consider this reflective statement made by old John Perrybingle the Carrier, who blames himself for whatever temptation his young wife Dot may have faced while married to him:
    ‘Did I consider,’ said the Carrier, ‘that I took her — at her age, and with her beauty — from her young companions, and the many scenes of which she was the ornament; in which she was the brightest little star that ever shone, to shut her up from day to day in my dull house, and keep my tedious company? Did I consider how little suited I was to her sprightly humour, and how wearisome a plodding man like me must be, to one of her quick spirit? Did I consider that it was no merit in me, or claim in me, that I loved her, when everybody must, who knew her? Never. I took advantage of her hopeful nature and her cheerful disposition; and I married her. I wish I never had! For her sake; not for mine!’
    Ah! There's a glimpse of a Dickens’ character at his best, touched by the self-knowledge and compassion that comes after great travail, the kind of insight that, through their difficult journeys, Copperfield, Carton, Pip and even old Dombey came face to face with at the last!

  5. Piyangie Piyangie says:

    The Cricket on the Hearth is one of the five Christmas stories by Charles Dickens. I have read this along with A Christmas Carol and The Chimes in a collection two years ago. Surprisingly except Christmas Carol, I've quite forgotten the other two stories; so it was a pleasant reading experience recalling the forgotten story.

    This is a domestic tale that flows around two families - the Peerybingles and Plummers, and the wealthy but stern and cold toy merchant Mr. Takleton (resembling Scrooge of A Christmas Carol ). Through the story, Dickens paints a true picture of simple domestic lives of the people of lower-middle class. Their happy contentment and wealth in their domestic love is a strong contrast to the lonely unhappy life of the rich authoritative merchant. Dickens believes in domestic happiness and contentment as the ultimate wealth in life as so often displayed in his works.

    The story is an interesting short fiction with love, jealousy, suspicion and deceit all playing a role. Dickens's light, humorous and witty wordplay combines all these themes in to one touching tale with a happy ending.

    I really enjoyed the idea of the cricket being a fairy acting as the guardian angel of the Peerybingle family. This was a proof that I have still not outgrown fairy tales!

    Overall, it was a good, engaging and enjoyable novella.

  6. Katie Lumsden Katie Lumsden says:

    I love this one - a really nice and heartwarming read.

  7. Cindy Rollins Cindy Rollins says:

    Our book club read this as a quick December read. Our other recent books had been pretty stiff reading. This was a delightful departure. Yes, Dickens knows Christmas!

  8. Cheryl Cheryl says:

    There I was this month, thinking I had temporarily lost my drive for commenting on books read. Until I dug up Dickens--well, it was more like I added him to my phone and listened: eyes closed, breath even, mind a blank slate waiting to be consumed by the sound of words paired carefully. There goes my spare time, Dickens, I give it to you sparingly. Do what you will with it.

    And he told me a story. A simple, perhaps even dull, storyline of no intricate consequence and still, I was fascinated. For only a few can tell a story quite like Dickens (now I must read and re-read his works in the months to come).

    The personification of cuckoos and crickets. A carrier, a toy merchant, and a blind woman. Love and suspicions of a lover. Loving deception--if one can imagine such a thing.

    The kettle hums. The cricket chirps. The storytelling mastery begins.

    Put aside the nagging reminder that your protagonist is oldddd and that his love is quite a youngun. Or the annoying reference to the pathetic daughter or the nagging wife. Oy, those minor annoyances become trivial once you get narration like this:

    Did I mention that he had always one eye open and one eye nearly shut and that the one eye nearly shut was always the expressive eye?

    It all started with the cricket on the hearth.

    Get upset at a character only to learn that he is in fact being mocked by the narrator: A twist in his dry face and a screw in his body.

    A compelling narration indeed. This oddly placed, entertaining voice that moves the story along. The depth of character introspection that is missing from so many contemporary short novels and stories. And did I mention again, how simple the story really is, this realistic fairy tale which showcases the human condition?

  9. Sara Sara says:

    I love Charles Dickens all year round, but I really adore reading him at Christmas time. I had never read this novella before, and it lived up to my expectations of what a Dickens tale should be. It is billed as a Christmas story, but I don't see it as that at all. It is a story of home and love and the value of those over money.

    I might not ever listen to the chirp of a cricket quite the same.

    Happy New Year to everyone here at Goodreads and around the world. I wish you all a happy home, filled with love, kindness and peace.

  10. BAM The Bibliomaniac BAM The Bibliomaniac says:

    Catching up with the classics

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