Charles Dickens Essay
How does Dickens use the conventions of the ghost story to make people think about important social issues in a Christmas carol? Victorian attitudes the poor were very negative. Many rich people believed that it was a poor person’s fault that they were poor. If you were poor there was no social security, benefits or pensions to survive on so they were forced into institutions like the poor house. Charles Dickens wrote many books about what it was like to live in poverty in Victorian England.
Many of his books are written to make people feel sympathetic towards the poor, and his works were a great influence on people’s opinions towards the poor at this time. He was particularly interested in doing this as he himself had been poor and was forced to work in a blacking factory. The novel “A Christmas Carol” is about a man called Ebenezer Scrooge who is very rich and has slightly exaggerated Victorian attitudes towards the poor. After his friend Jacob Marley visits him from the dead he is told that if he does not change his ways he will face the same fate as Jacob Marley; to be bound in chains for eternity.
He is then visited by three spirits, the ghost of Christmas past, Christmas present and of Christmas yet to come, who show him what was, is and will be wrong with his life. Scrooge is described in the book as a heartless, miserly and selfish, old man saying “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching covetous old sinner! ” The novel shows how people avoided Scrooge, everybody hated or was scared of him and even blind-dogs seemed to know to keep away, “Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, ” ‘My dear Scrooge, How Are you?
When will you come to see me? ‘ No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was O’clock, no man or ever once in all his life enquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. ” The book also describes him as being very cold towards others, and very unsympathetic, in one part of the novel he will not even let his clerk have another coal for his fire, even though it is Christmas time and therefore extremely cold. It says “Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal.
But he couldn’t replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room: and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. ” By exaggerating Scrooges’ bad characteristics, Dickens creates a key character for his novel but also uses Scrooge as an example to the reader of how not to act, Scrooge is clearly an example of exactly how not to be a good person. and how not to treat others. Jacob Marley is Scrooge’s dead business partner, he had the same attitudes and behaviour as Scrooge, “We have no doubt his liberality is well presented by his surviving partner,”…
It certainly was; for they had been to kindred spirits. ” The ghost of Jacob Marley visits Scrooge one night and warns him if he does not change his ways, and help others he will be doomed to spend his existence bound in chains, for Jacob Marley has spent his ghostly existence bound in chains that are made from things he preoccupied himself with in life. It says, “The chain he drew was clasped around his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for scrooge observed it closely) of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.