‘A Christmas Carol’ is a novel written in 1843 when there is a divide of the rich and poor. Dickens wanted to send out a message of generosity and sympathy to the reader and also that everybody gets a chance to change their ways. He gets his message across using the time of Christmas to show the reader how we could use his message throughout the whole year.
At the time Dickens wrote the novel, he is going through a difficult time. There is poverty surrounding him and his family, which let him see the desperation and worry on everyone’s face as people were living in hideous conditions. This also led to his father going to a debtor’s prison as his family is also in poverty. This would have given Dickens the views of generosity and selflessness he had.
At the start of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Ebenezer Scrooge is described as physically and emotionally cold. “The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek”. The describing words the Dickens uses to describe Scrooge are all harsh sounding and negative. The continuous amount of harsh describing words gives the reader the impression that Scrooge is not a pleasant person. Following this, Scrooge refuses to give a merry Christmas to his nephew. “What’s Christmas to you but a time for paying bills without money”. This suggests that Scrooge is only concerned about business and money. Scrooge is also angry at his nephew for not taking money seriously when he is trying to cheer up Scrooge. To back up the point of Scrooge’s selfishness and greed, he refuses to give money to the charity men and goes on to say how people that can’t afford to live should go to workhouses. “Those who are badly off must go there”. Scrooge has rejected to give money to charity by saying that if the poor don’t want to go to workhouses they deserve to die. This is showing an extreme lack of concern for other people which contributes to the idea of Scrooge being a miserable and selfish man.
Scrooge begins his journey to become a better person after having several visits from the ghosts of Christmas. The first ghost to visit Scrooge is Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s old business partner. He warns Scrooge that if he continues to be greedy and selfish he will end up as a suffering ghost in his after-life like him if he doesn’t change into a better person. “I wear the chain I forged in life”. The ghost is telling Scrooge how he can’t break free of the “chain” he is attached to making his after-life horrible. There is use of imagery as the “chain” represents the greed that they both possess coming from their business views on life.
2There were also three other ghosts after Jacob Marley that gave Scrooge a visit, each giving a different message for Scrooge to take to make him into a better person. The ghost of Christmas Past gives Scrooge a vision of his fellow businessman, Mr Fezziwig, having a party to celebrate Christmas Eve. Even though Mr Fezziwig is an employer like himself, Mr Fezziwig is generous and is still a kind person. This shows that Scrooge could be more like Mr Fezziwig and still be a businessman. Scrooge has realized how he has not given Bob the kindness he deserves. “I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk just now”.
This shows again that although he may not be changing physically but Dickens has let Scrooge’s kind and caring side to show through giving the reader the impression that Scrooge is becoming a kinder and less selfish person. This contrasts with how Scrooge had treated his clerk at the start of the novel because then he wouldn’t even let him have enough coal to keep him warm while he is working for Scrooge. Dickens wants us to see that Scrooge is beginning to change, in that he can now see how bad he is treating his clerk in the past. This is important the reader’s first impression of Scrooge is that he didn’t care for anyone but himself and is only interested in his money.
The next ghost to give Scrooge a visit is the ghost of Christmas present and the reader’s view on Scrooge is beginning to improve. The message that this ghost give to Scrooge is generosity and selflessness. He gets his message across by showing how people don’t have to be rich to be happy, kind and generous. When the ghost takes Scrooge to see the Crachit’s house, Scrooge is emotionally moved by Tiny Tim. “Bob held his withered little hand to his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him”.
Scrooge is moved by this as he sees it because he can see the problems his family is going through but how they can still be a happy and caring family for each other. The ghost then goes onto tell Scrooge how Tiny Tim will die. “If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”. This are the words that Scrooge used discussing how poor people need money, and these words have come back to haunt him using Tiny Tim’s doubtful future. This is important as Scrooge’s previous views have completely changed from bad to good.
Straight after Scrooge hears the news about Tiny Tim’s future, he sees that Bob is making a toast to him. “I’ll give you Mr Scrooge, the founder of the feast!”. This gave a big impact on Scrooge he had only just been disheartened by the news of Tiny Tim, and now has a feeling of guilt because of how badly he had treated Bob in the past. In addition, Mrs Crachit also toasts to Scrooge. “The founder of the feast, indeed!”. Although her toast is reluctant, she still made a toast to Scrooge even though how bad he treats her husband at work. It also goes to show her poverty and that she only made her toast to Scrooge reluctantly because she thinks her family deserve more money from Scrooge to her husband working for him.
The third and final ghost of Christmas is approaching as Scrooge is realizing that he is meant to learn a lesson. The ghost of Christmas future visits Scrooge, and brings a sense of death and misery with it. The ghost shows Scrooge Tiny Tim’s family grieving for Tim as he has died. “Don’t mind it, father. Don’t be grieved!”. Tiny Tim died because his family did not have enough money to support him. This is important as it shows Scrooge the consequences of his actions if he continues to live the way he is doing now. Following this, the ghost shows Scrooge a corpse but Scrooge does not realize that it is him.
He thinks that it’s someone like him and he should be learning a lesson from it. Scrooge also notices how nobody is there to grieve for this person and on top of this, people are breaking into the deceased person’s house for anything valuable or worth taking. This was due to the extreme poverty at the time, people would resort to crime to get some money to live on. Scrooge then sees his own name on the gravestone and many emotions run though him. “I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on the stone!”. Here we can see how Scrooge has completely changed his whole personality from the different events that have happened due to poverty and greed. It also clearly shows that he has learnt the error of his ways and will now be a kind and selfless person. This is an important part of the novel as it shows that he has now fully changed, and the desperation he has shown makes the reader feel sorry for him. Dickens has done this on purpose as it shows that a character, that at the start of the novel, the reader has a bad view on. Then by the end of the novel you feel sorry for and hope that he does have a chance to show that he has changed into a better person.
After Scrooge’s journey to become a better person, he makes up for what he has been like to other people in the past by being kinder and more caring to other people that were less fortunate. This novel sent out a message of how every person has the perfect attitude inside them and everyone has the choice to if they want to show it. Also, this novel also shows how everybody can be happy without money, and its only family and friends that are important, not objects like money and property.