A CHRISTMAS CAROL - GHOSTS (THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST (The Ghost is…
A CHRISTMAS CAROL - GHOSTS
The Victorians made the ghost story genre specific and popular
Dickens was hugely important in establishing this genre - not only as a writer but as an editor: his journals Household Worlds and All the Year Round were specialised ghost stories
Dickens' close friend and biographer John Forster said the novelist had a "
hankering after ghosts"
In A Christmas Carol, he make the supernatural a natural extension of the real world of Scrooge and his victims
THE DOOR KNOCKER
The first supernatural sight is the door knocker on the outside door of Scrooge's chambers changes into the face of his former partner, Jacob Marley
"The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless"
Marley;s ghost carries the worries he had in life ""
cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel"
These items act as symbols of what Marley spent his life concerned about and in turn they reflect the character of Scrooge
He quickly has an influence on Scrooge
"he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes"
Dickens uses Marley to verbalise his message to society
"Mankind was my business"
Marley shows us the horror that awaits a Scrooge who doesn't change his ways
Marley's purpose here is to make us, as readers, care about Scrooge's reform
"doomed to wander through the world...and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth and turned into happiness"
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
Strange appearance - it was a mixture between an old man and small child.
"it was a strange figure: like a child yet no so like a child as like an old man"
Symbolising the connection between Scrooge then and Scrooge now to emphasise that his childhood was a long time ago
"bright clear jet of light"
- emphasises the truth behind these memories, hope, capable of human relationships
is the suppression of emotions that Scrooge has displayed for years
The white tunic represents the innocence linked to childhood
He speaks in a
voice as if he was distant - like Scrooge's distant past, detached
The ghost is generally quiet, thoughtful, compassionate during the parts of Scrooge's miserable childhood we get to see
The Ghost is forceful and asks questions;
"What is the matter?"
He is eager for Scrooge to learn but also eager for him to realise
The incident of Belle is almost too much for Scrooge to handle and the Ghost forces him to observe and overpowers him
"But the relentless Ghost pinioned him in both arms, and forced him to observe"
Scrooge wrestles with the Ghost and metaphorically this means a number of things: the Old Scrooge vs the New Scrooge, Memories and the Past Vs the Present, the subconscious vs conscious
"Show me no more!"
Scrooge cries to the Ghost of Christmas Past
What he sees is a punishment
The Ghost enables Dickens to explore the social and moral issues that are central to this novella: poverty, redemption guilt
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
PURPOSE: To show us what Christmas was like for different people in Victorian England
It is used to verbalise Dickens' message about education and how important it is - ignorance is more dangerous than poverty
The Ghost is Jolly
"A jolly giant"
It sprinkles water and incense from its torch as a blessing
The Ghost is generous and carries a torch which looks like a
and this is the symbol of abundance in Greek and Roman Mythology
The scabbard has no sword in it which suggests that Christmas is a time for peace
The Ghost sits on a throne and is surrounded by a list of food - implying that there is enough food to go around and this contradicts the Malthusian views which Dickens hated
"turkeys, geese, game
However, this Ghost hides the realities of life in Victorian England and disguises them as children: Ignorance and Want
The Ghost begins Scrooge's ability to empathise and sympathise and has "
sympathy with all poor men
The Ghost is also
towards Ignorance and Want
He cares for those who are less fortunate
The Ghost is harsh with his last words " Are there no prisons? said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words, "Are there no workhouses?" mirroring Scrooge's words in an effort to enlighten
Scrooge is warned about ignoring the less fortunate and how this leads to doom
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME
Mysterious and terrifying
"shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form"
Archetype of the Grim Reaper
Mysterious appearance symbolises the uncertainty for the future
it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery"
it does not speak, it leads and points
"Scrooge feared the silent shape." "His legs trembled"
Described as a "phantom" - reinforcing the idea of death and suggesting that he is less humane than the other ghosts
He even asks the phantom to give him mercy
Scrooge wrestled with the Ghost of Christmas Past but whereas now he desperately begs and tries to hold on to life"
"In his agony , he caught the spectral hand. It sought to free itself , but he was strong in his entreaty, and detained it. The Spirit, stronger yet, repulsed him"
The Ghosts give the story its structure and make Scrooge feel prepared for each visit
Preparing to see the second of the three spirits, he says "
nothing between a baby and a rhinoceros would have astonished him very much
The Ghost of Christmas Present surprises him by showing him humour and happiness in the most unlikely circumstances
And when Scrooge sees the visions revealed by the phantom, he fails to recognise that the man abandoned by the thieves is himself
Marley's Ghost declares. "
You will be haunted...by Three Spirits"
Scrooge is even told what times they will appear
The Ghosts bring fatality to the narrative: Scrooge cannot resist the visions they show him
He must wake up at certain times to encounter the world he has made for himself
The ghosts are only there for a short period of time, "My
time is nearly gone
" says the Ghost of Jacob Marley and "
My time grows short
says the second ghost"