A CHRISTMAS CAROL: CONTEXT (THE MESSAGE (The three months Charles worked…
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: CONTEXT
A Christmas Carol is novella about a bitter man called Scrooge
After a visit from three ghosts he changes
He becomes more generous
Charles Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812 and spent the first two years of his life living in the coastal regions of Kent, a county in the southeast of England
Dickens' father, John, was kind and likeable man, but he was financially irresponsible, piling up tremendous amounts of debts throughout his life
When Dickens was nine, his family moved to London. At twelve, his father was arrested and sent to debtors prison
Dickens had to give up his education and work in a factory
His father then inherits money and Dickens goes to private school for the next two years
He works as an office by at a solicitor's firm. Starts work as a court reporter
1843 A Christmas Carol was published
He eventually died of a stroke in 1870
The three months Charles worked in the factory were severely traumatic. He viewed his job as a
; he considered himself too good for it
Dickens wanted his novella to draw attention to the plight of England's poor (Social Criticism, a recurring theme in Dickens' work, resounds most strongly with his novel
Throughout the novella, Dickens combines indirect descriptions of hardships faced by the poor with a sentimental celebration of the Christmas season
The callous Ebeneezer Scrooge - who opens his heart after being confronted by the three spirits, remains one of Dickens' most widely recognised and popular characteristic
The novella emphasises the importance of social responsibility
Dickens uses the novella to argue that people have a responsibility to care for the less fortunate
Dickens saw Christmas as a special time of year when people treated other with kindness.
Dickens believed this attitude should continue all year round
Helping others instead of helping ourselves
THE VALUE OF EDUCATION
Dickens' emphasises the importance of education through his presentation of the two children Ignorance and Want
They are awful in their appearance "
Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish
We are told to "beware" ignorance as he is "doom"
The Cratchits are the face of the poor in the novella
Mrs Cratchit's ribbons as a symbol of her desperation to make her dress look new: "brave in ribbons"
The charity collectors. Many of the poor
"would rather die"
than go to workhouses
The family do have a Christmas goose:
"the rarest of the bird"
"a wretched woman with an infant"
"reeked with crime, with filth, and misery"
Poor Law 1834 - For financial assistance anyone without a job had to enter a workhouse
There was a belief that poor people were lazt
We see that Dickens is against this law probably from his own experiences
An allegory is an extended metaphor contrasting of symbolism and all the elements of the novel. It is an allegory that is delivering several message by using moral characters and scenes
Dickens' uses Scrooge as a symbol for the wealthy and aristocratic member of society, who are ignorant to the misfortunes of the poor
Dickens' show how cold and unforgiving Scrooge is towards the lower class men. Scrooge is said to be so cold that,
"No warmth could warm his soul"
Scrooge shows how uncaring the attitude towards the poor is when he blasts the man who asks for a donation to give to the poor. Here he demonstrates the ignorance and neglect towards poverty stricken members of society
Using Scrooge, Dickens is able to call for effective moral change in the wealthy thus, making Scrooge part of an allegory rather than just being a character in a novella
Charles Dickens brings to life two traits that man kind will inherit, Ignorance (of the wealthy) and Want (of the poor)
Metaphorically speaking, ignorance and Want are the children of mankind
Dickens' message is that the wealthy must change their ways for the betterment of society
That being said, it is evident that Dickens is using this novella to portray his ideas, therefore making it an allegory
"Mankind was my business"