Dickens wanted to put across this idea of rich people being selfish, un-compassionate people. As in Victorian society a blatant social divide of the rich and poor was evident. A sense that people in high society had was that they were more important than those poorer than themselves, and so they’re greed kept their money and anything they had to share was kept to themselves. Dickens’ also shows the appreciation and happiness of the little poor people had and how infact they were richer in life than the rich people were in their wealth.
He uses this with the example to Bob Cratchit’s family with such remarks as “Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content. ” This shows an emotion not seen in the cold-hearted representation of rich people in A Christmas Carol. Similes are another language technique that dickens has developed and used to create a dramatic sense of scrooges character. A simile used to describe scrooge for example is “Hard and sharp as flint” this gives the impression that scrooge himself is a person with a hard exterior, almost impenetrable for emotion to break through.
He is sharp within the sense of his wit, he talks down to those he opposes and with his sharp wit attacks them verbally, such as where he talks to his nephew and says “What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough” this shows the sharpness in his tongue, and the nastiness in his personality. This sort of use of simile gives the reader something to compare scrooge to, and so see deeper into his personality.
Here is another simile from the first stave “solitary as an oyster” an oyster lives on it’s own at the bottom of the ocean isolated, this idea of loneliness could be linked to scrooge. Oysters are also cocooned within a shell; this connects with the thought of scrooge hiding behind a self indulgent front and not letting anyone in emotionally. Dickens changes his use of simile in the last stave to suit scrooges newly found nice character; this shows a variance between the two opposites in scrooge’s personality in the two staves.
For example, here is a simile that describes scrooge in the last stave “I am as happy as an angel” that simile sounds very positive in contrast to ones in the first stave. To say he’s as happy as an angel links into how before he wasn’t happy and his own atmosphere was depressing, but now he is happy and not just happy but as happy as an angelic creature. This shows the reader that scrooge is rejoicing in sight of his own change in character, and how they should feel happy to in response to that.
Repetition is another key technique used to dramatically describe scrooge’s character. A word repeated many times in the first few paragraphs is “dead” with this an instant negative mood is brought upon the reader. With it repeated so many times it keeps the text itself to a low mood, and with the other language techniques combined it makes the reader grasp the pessimistic atmosphere. The word “dead” itself could link to scrooge, as scrooge himself could be seen as dead on the inside, due to his complete lack of emotion shown to anything.
Repetition is used in the same way in the last stave but in a different meaning, not to severely show the bad atmosphere but to highlight and create a positive atmosphere towards the overall affect on the reader. Here is a word repeated often in the last stave “chuckle”. This is a cheerful and enthusiastic word that fits in with scrooge’s new change of character. It makes the reader feel that scrooge is now a humorous person, which he never was before and therefore he has obviously changed.
Scrooges views on Christmas vary between the first and last stave, In the first stave he appears to despise Christmas, and those who think of it as merry, for example he says this to his nephew Bob Cratchit in response to him asking to come round for Christmas dinner “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” this shows his reluctance against Christmas and makes the reader think that if such a person hates Christmas, a merry and happy time of the year they themselves must be a nasty person.
On the other hand they may want to delve deeper into scrooges character, and maybe think why does this man hate Christmas so much? And so wait to find out until they reach an opinion. Dickens idea was to present people of high society as uncompassionate people, and because Christmas is a time to show love and compassion towards others Dickens uses that against scrooges character and makes him hate Christmas, and so that represents the people of high society in that stereotype as cold uncompassionate people, as wanted by Dickens. In the last stave scrooges view on Christmas appears to have completely changed and reformed into a love of it.
For example when he wakes up after all the spirits have visited him he says “A merry Christmas to everybody! ” which of course he would have never said before seriously and meant it. This shows the reader that scrooge’s new character has awakened and therefore loves Christmas, and wishes a merry Christmas to all. Dickens created Scrooges love of Christmas to show a comparison between scrooge’s opinions on Christmas, so the reader can see that along with scrooge’s turn of character he is truly a changed man who now loves Christmas.
Dickens uses exaggeration to create a dramatic emphasis of an atmosphere or scrooge’s character, the meaning for it varies between the first and last stave. For the first stave it is used to emphasize the gloomy mood, for example there is a long list of verbs that describe scrooge and his actions, here is a section of that list “grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous” this directly hits the reader with a settled opinion on scrooge, and makes them think of him as an awfully negative person.
He may not be all these things, but in the readers eyes he is exaggerated to be a somewhat inhumanly, horrible and tightfisted man. For that is what dickens’ believed people like scrooge and within his high class in society to be in the 19th century, and so to give the reader a bias view he used exaggeration to exaggerate scrooges actions in a way the reader would be manipulated into believing that that is what rich people were like. Exaggeration is used in an intensely positively way in the last stave in contrast to the first stave.
The phrase “as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world” is an exaggerated phrase, because of course he isn’t the nicest man in the world, but to the reader he appears to be through pushing this idea to them through exaggeration. Dickens wanted the reader to believe that scrooge had become a new person in complete reconciliation for his past-self, and did so by using exaggeration as a language technique to give an obvious contrast between scrooges transformation.
The change of tone and attitude of scrooges character changes dramatically between the first and last stave, this is shown by the way he acts towards others, and how they perceive his as a person. In the first stave for example it says “No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle” this means that no beggars would bother asking him for anything, as they already know what his response would be, a blatant no.
This also links to Dickens’ views on people in high society, he regarded them as selfish and tight people, because during the massive social divide in his lifetime people in rich situations in his opinion were selfish and tight and so to spread his views across he used scrooges character and by showing a beggars negative reaction to scrooge. That shows the divide between the two people, high and low class and a disrespect and tightness from high to low. This makes the reader think that scrooge is a selfish, mean man.
Dickens uses scrooges attitude towards others so let the readers form an opinion of how they would react to scrooges character themselves. Scrooges tone and attitude in the last stave reflects his change of character deeply. Because he is of course a changed man his attitude towards others changed also with that. For example as he is asking a young boy to buy him a turkey he says “Come back with him in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half-a-crown. ” This shows his newly found generosity, as before he would have never given anything willingly to anyone.
This helps towards the reader adjusting their opinion of scrooge, and believes that if he is kind to others he must be a kind and changed person himself. The Young Vic performance showed a modern twist of A Christmas carol. Scrooge was played by a woman in a South African setting, I believe having a woman play scrooge is to show that now that there is a near equality between men and women; women can become in a position like scrooge, have money to themselves and be selfish with it.
The story explores Aid’s, prostitution, poverty etc, this highlighted the contrast between old and modern society by exploring these issues from today’s world, this is important because it demonstrates the moral of A Christmas carol in relevance to today. In conclusion I believe the moral behind Christmas carol is that in a social divided community it is important to treat everyone the same. This is shown through scrooge’s character, and how he treats people somewhat below him in the social hierarchy as a man quite high in society and how he treats them after he has been visited by the spirits.
I think that the moral is still of relevance to today’s world, although there is a large time difference between now and then there still are social divides throughout society, weather it be financially or through the new celebrity status’s there are or anything else, so it is still important to withhold the belief that everyone has the right to be treated the same, rich or poor, famous or not famous. Equality is something that should be of relevance though any time, weather it is a problem or something newly found, it is an issue and still will be until there is complete equality for all.