A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens “An unsurpassed blending of vibrant story telling and social conscience” . Dickens achieves such storytelling through a clever use of words woven into both a vibrant story and an analysis of the current centauries social failings. The story follows Scrooge, an old unkind grouch whose actions are usually of a cruel and heartless nature. Even his attitude to the current month of Christmas is that it is merely a waste of time that could be used for more work.
It’s interesting that Dickens has chosen such a cruel man as the main character; however his intentions are that this will highlight to an extreme the poverty that the secondary characters are shown in. Dickens example of such less well off characters is his main employee is a young worker named Bob Cratchitt, a poor man who lives in poverty with his family and there young crippled son Tiny Tim. Scrooge cares nothing for the poor and only sees Bob as his clerk. This was common at the time that the book was set as the poor were often forgotten, frowned upon and mistreated.
Poverty was one of the key points that Dickens tries to put forward in the book to try and influences people’s attitudes towards the poor. Because of Scrooge’s nature towards Christmas and his clerk he is reluctant to let Bob send the day off, however in the end he does. This reveals something about Scrooge’s character, it suggest that there is good in him as a truly cold hearted man would have asked Bob to work Dickens may have displayed this to highlight changes that take place at the end of the book.
The text then goes on to Marley’s ghost. Scrooge is warned by his old friends ghost when he arrives home of three ghosts that will come to visit him. Marley’s Ghost scene is there as a sort of introduction to the events that will take place later on in the book. It develops Scrooge’s character more showing his true frailty. Marley’s ghost warns of three spirits that will appear to him of past, present and future.
Marley also explains what will become of him if he does not change, mentioning the chains that drape around him are the troubles of his past life, each one represents a bad deed he has perform and they now follow him around weighing down apron him, he warns that the same fate will befall scrooge unless he changes his ways. Marley predicts the arrival of three ghosts the first being the past. The ghost of the past shows Scrooge his childhood. The character of scrooge further develops here showing us how scrooge was mistreated and forgotten as a child.
It forwards the story along to the next chapter of the book and acts as an axis for the next part. The ghost of Christmas present. The ghost of Christmas present focuses on the life time now and is there to develop Scrooge’s kinder side. From the conversation about Tiny Tim where scrooge asks whiter Tiny Tim will live. Dickens also shows a scene that wasn’t the custom at the time. He showed the Cratchitt family together at Christmas as a family, this was an image that wasn’t usually associated with Christmas and another issue that Dickens was also trying to influence.
Much like Dickens ideas of the portrayal of people in poverty Dickens also tries to entangle this message into his story in order to influence the readers of the book explaining the importance of Christmas family values. Shows us Scrooge’s devolving character. The last ghost of Christmas future serves as the chapter of change. He we learn of what will come. When Scrooge sees his own death and how he is viewed by others now he has passed on. This acts as the closing of this part of the book and brings the book back into a more realistic phase.
The last chapter shows how Scrooge changes. His actions are now of a good nature. His reaction of the poor is now that he should help. This transformation shown by the ghosts, although an obvious fictional example it still displays a clear message that people can change no matter what. Dickens hoped that his readers would take notice of this and strive to change themselves and become more aware of their surroundings. Through clever use of story telling Dickens uses his trade marked detailed style to create a picture of the characters.
The character of scrooge is devolved throughout the book showing three different phases of him. The first phase of scrooge we see is the mean old man Ebenezer Scrooge. He is ported as an uncaring old man who likes nothing more than his money and his work. He is ported as having no weakness however as mentioned earlier Dickens may have deliberately pointed out a small weakness. When talking to Bob Cratchitt, Scrooge discusses letting Bob off for the day. After not long he agrees to let him off. This may show Scrooge’s kinder side showing that he does infact have a heart.
However the beginning of the text focuses on the meanness of Scrooge’s heart. However the second part of the first chapter focuses on trying to show the real frailty of Scrooge, and opinion of him that is meant to last throughout the book until the last chapter. When Marley’s ghost appears to Scrooge he becomes frightened. He is no longer the stiff mean old man before but now frail. Dickens highlights this to emphasize changes taking place within Scrooge. Later on in the chapters when it goes to Christmas present we are shown the developing of scrooge’s heart.
When he asks if Tiny Tim will die we can see that he truly does care. The last chapter focus’s on Scrooges attitude. After seeing his fate Scrooge can now relies his wrongs. The chapter explains Scrooge’s biggest devolpment as he has finally thought out side his own mind and begun to really change. It highlights the most important changing of Phases from weak and misrable to Strong and Happy. This is futher follwed by expanding on Scrooge’s new characteur showing the immense changes that have taken place.
The reason Dickens has expanded on the characteur of Scrooge so much is to give the story certain Vibrancy. The different phases of Scrooges development help further forward the story in a more interesting way insuring the reader does not become bored. To add to the vibrancy of the story Dickens also provides strong secondary characters. The character of Marley is the first character that provides the first step in scrooge’s development. It shows what Scrooge will become, so it can be seen to portray the future scrooge.
Marley is shown to carry the chains of his burdens around him. He is the one who warns scrooge of the spirits impending arrival which suggests he is trying to help scrooge to solve his problems in the way that Marley couldn’t. Bob Cratchitt could be shown as Scrooges second stage, a frail old man but with a strong heart and lastly Scrooges nephew is shown to be what scrooge can become. Successful and happy. These three characters act as axis to drive the story forward whilst also portraying symbolic meanings of scrooge himself.
During the story one of Dickens’s main aims is to relate to his audience and discuss problems in every day life style yet not make them too obvious to readers. His first idea is the Portrayal of the poor. In those days the poor where often forgotten and regarded as lesser beings and were never really thought upon by others. Dickens tries to change this by giving the idea that people should help the poor. He uses the character of Scrooge as an extreme example of how people can change and make a difference to the people who live in poverty.
Dickens is trying to raise social awareness directly as apposed to just telling the people by intertwining his messages into a story. His second achievement in the book is the view of Christmas being a family occasion. Before then Christmas was indeed a time to celebrate but I was never though of as a day that all family should get together. Dickens tries to explain the importance of this through the Cratchitt family, and that family can help the relationships between people on Christmas grow.