I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
— Owl Eyes Reader
Dickens calls himself a “Friend and Servant” here because the claims made by the report, combined with first-hand accounts, so disturbed Dickens that he would deliver a “sledge-hammer blow . . . on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child.” The best way he could do this was through writing. He already enjoyed wide fame, and he used his notoriety to promote his social consciousness.
— Wesley, Owl Eyes Editor
Charles Dickens loved Christmas and had very fond memories of the holiday with his family. In 1843, a father of several children himself, Dickens read a report on child labor abuses in England. The report prompted Dickens to visit the Field Lane Ragged School (ragged schools were schools that provided free education, and in some cases food, shelter, and clothing to poor children) but was horrified by the conditions. This ultimately encouraged Dickens to write a politically productive novel that would “raise” awareness.