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Tiny Tim was a young, poor boy who had a bad illness which was typical of the time. He was a cripple and so walked with crutches but would have to be supported a lot as he was young and not strong enough to support his weight all the time. When the third spirit showed Scrooge that Tiny Tim would die in the future it showed how Bob was very upset but he had to look strong to keep his family from breaking down as he held the Cratchit family together. But when he said, ‘I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how greener place it is. But you’ll see it often.
I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child, my little child’. He just broke down as he missed Tiny Tim so much and showed how wrecked the family would be if Tiny Tim died and how much of a strong part he plays in the family and if Scrooge keeps on treating Bob Cratchit so badly it would cause Tiny Tim not to get better and he would die. In A Christmas Carol Dickens makes his message palatable in several ways. He only described the slum area in Chapter Four but other than that he left us the job of imagining the conditions ourselves as a reader.
Christmas is described as a very happy and cheerful time where everyone gets the Christmas spirit and approaches any random person, even grumpy Scrooge, to see how they are and to greet them. The poor people on the streets are always jolly when described and they are never in a discomfort or pain during the whole story. The poor are shown as the real people who enjoy Christmas the most as all he family and friends meet together to make the most out of their Christmas with the little food and money they have.
Scrooge seems to be the only person in the town who doesn’t enjoy Christmas but after his three spirits visit him he changes and begins to see Christmas for what it really is, a time to love and cherish. In A Christmas Carol it gives the impression that the poor are cheerful at the period of Christmas despite their poverty. All the shops were decorated with mistletoe and they had grapes and other mouth watering fruits that people stared at with their mouths wide open as they passed. People were queuing up outside the baker’s shop to get their Christmas dinner cooked as they were too poor to buy an oven.
There was also an endless line outside the church waiting for the Christmas service to begin. They wore their best and smartest clothes. ‘With their gayest faces’, which says how happy the people were that Christmas had finally arrived. Children were playing on the streets and throwing snowballs at one another. Men were cleaning the porch of the snow and one man was cleaning the snow off of his roof with not a sad face in sight. This was also the case at Fezziwig’s party as there was dancing with people laughing and enjoying the party to the full extent.
Fezziwig is not sad throughout the whole of this scene and does not appear to stop smiling even when the party had ended. In a Christmas Carol Dickens is obviously trying to get across what a fun time everyone is having and everyone is cheerful. This spirit shows Scrooge how much fun he used to have when he was younger and how he also used to celebrate Christmas and how happy he was at that time. This scene also shows how nice Fezziwig is to his employees as he is very nice to them when he speaks and invites Scrooge to his party which shows how badly he treats Bob Cratchit, ‘yo ho, my boys.
No more work tonight. Christmas Eve, Dick. Christmas, Ebenezer! Let’s have the shutters up. Before a man can say Jack Robinson! ‘ Scrooge’s nephew is always happy when he visits Scrooge. He takes Scrooge’s attitude in his stride and never gets upset by his behaviour. An example of this is when he says, ‘Christmas a humbug, uncle? You don’t mean that, I am sure? ‘ This shows how he tries to get the Christmas spirit into Scrooge’s system. The Cratchit’s also show a lot of Christmas spirit as they say about Scrooge, ‘I’ll give you Mr Scrooge, the founder of the feast’.
They say this about Scrooge even though he treats Bob Cratchit so badly but even on the little pay Scrooge gives him the Cratchit’s salute him for giving them any money at all to at least have a proper meal for the occasion. Dickens also made the book palatable by making the celebrations for poor people at Christmas amazing. The poor people would celebrate it as if it were the greatest day in the year and they would spend what little money they had to make their Christmas the best.
The Cratchit’s are all working as a family to make a separate part of the meal so they can put it all together to make the best family meal. Their food consists of a few potatoes each, gravy and a small goose but they make it out as if it is the largest of meals with the biggest goose ever to exist. Also they had a small Christmas pudding which the family made out to be a feast for thousands of people just for them and this shows how poor they were by making such a big deal out of a small meal.
‘Mrs Cratchit entered: flushed, but smiling proudly; with the pudding, like a speckled cannon ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half a quarter of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. Oh, a wonderful pudding Bob Cratchit said’. In this book, the message Dickens tries to get across is how Scrooge changed from a mean, greedy old man who only thought about himself and through 3 spirits, the past, the present and the future he changes to a kind, generous man who has started to live a better life to be a happier person and begins to enjoy life for what it is.
In conclusion, although Dickens has shown the reader many examples of conditions for the poor, he never shows any graphic pictures of their disgusting living conditions. The whole book has been written as a moral story. He shows us that money can’t buy you happiness and you can still be poor and enjoy life and special celebrations. He sets the book at the time of the year when many young children were catching terrible diseases which were life threatening and ended up with a lot of deaths occurring and so the book is made more enjoyable by writing it as a ghost story.