Christmas Carol AO3 Context (Social class ('Surplus population'…
Christmas Carol AO3 Context
Rampant overpopulation in Victorian London- urban poor are not beneficial to Scrooge's business and therefore unnecessary and a 'surplus'.
Upper class believe poor are waste and something to be disposed of.
'people below them...another race of creatures'
Social classes believe the lower class is completely different and inferior- treating them as pests that swarm in underground squalor
The upper class believes the poor are destitute because they are lazy and indolent- the upper classes are arrogant which further widens the divide between rich and poor
'Are there no prisons?...workhouses?...The Poor Law?'
Scrooge's refusal to be charitable at Christmas represents the selfishness of the upper class. Instead of creating a community in which respectable living conditions and necessities can be taken for granted by all, Dickens highlights the injustice of the lack of wealth distribution in Victorian society
'Many would rather die'
Suggests that the very poor have very few options in terms of jobs and welfare- Dickens is criticising the urban establishment for ignoring the needs of the many for the interests of few
The harsh environment of Victorian London has made people uncharitable due to the massive demand to scavenge money and food to survive, luxuries to the deprived urban masses
'picking a man's pocket every 25th Dec'
Scrooge, due to his and the upper class' miserliness and arrogance, is hostile to any (in his view) unjust distribution of his wealth
'Every person has a right to care for themselves. He [Scrooge] always did'
Conveys the upper class' miserliness and lack of generosity
'fellow passengers to the grave'
Indicates there are high levels of premature deaths and infant mortality due to the horrendous urban conditions- 'passengers' indicates it is an inevitable fate.
'boy and girl..ragged,scowling, twisted'
Dickens uses the deprived Ignorance and Want characters to convey that the young and the poor have been neglected by society as rapid economic prosperity opens a gaping wealth divide- they symbolise Dickens' belief that there was little support for the lower rungs of society
'most of all beware this boy [Ignorance]'
The Ghost of Christmas Present's warning to 'beware' Ignorance suggests that Ignorance is the root of all of society's problems- Dickens is conveying that society needs to be educated to alleviate the vicious cycles of poverty, death, and class strife.
'the child will die'
The vision of Tiny Tim's death symbolises the injustice of the Victorian era; a beloved character dies undeservedly - the Cratchits cannot afford treatment due to their unjust poverty
The Character of Tiny Tim represents Dickens' conviction that the poor should be helped since he is portrayed as the antithesis of the common view of the poor among elites at the time- Tim is gracious and amiable rather than boorish and rude
Tiny Tim's death has a jarring effect on the reader- evoking anger at the social conditions that led this to happen and at the ignorance of the upper class who believed that the poor were undeserving of help.