Is it just me or are the first four paragraphs of Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol both brilliant and hysterically funny? There seems a significant mood change beginning in the fifth graph, but the first four always crack me up. Combined with his preface, he opens with a joke (a few, really) and has me at hello.
In just a bit over 300 words, Dickens does riffs on the deadness of doornails, the ancestral wisdom in simile, and the ghost of Hamlet’s father that are practically stand-up comedy (mentioning a ghost foreshadows his own tale). We learn that Marley is (definitely!) dead and that he and Scrooge were partners. We learn a bit about their character, particularly Scrooge’s.
One could write an article about those four paragraphs (but I didn’t)!