‘In your opinion how colourfully does Dickens portray Victorian England in a Christmas Carol? ’ A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843. It is about a miserable miser ‘Scrooge’, who after being visited by three Ghosts and taking a look at his life becomes a changed person. The book is set and was written in Victorian England and Dickens manages to portray Victorian England vividly through the use of a number of techniques, such as figurative language. In Victorian England, many people lived an unfortunate life.
Many people were poor and homeless and London became an overcrowded, dirty due to lots of people from the countryside and other cities outside London coming London looking for jobs. In a Christmas Carol, Dickens uses Bob Cratchit, to symbolise the underprivileged people. He is a character whose daughter works on Christmas day to help provide for his family and even ‘he’ only earns 15 shillings a week.
They are so poor that his son, ‘Tiny Tim’, is likely to die due to a disease and his family cannot afford to pay for medical treatment, however the Cratchit’s try to remain cheery despite being poor when Dickens says “even Tiny Tim …beat on the table with the handle of the knife, and feebly cried Hurrah! ”
The spirits remain high despite the fact that they are poor, as shown by the words ‘even’ and ‘feebly’, which create sympathy because they try to remain upbeat even at times when they are less fortunate than others. In the opening of the book the clerk in his “dismal little cell beyond, a sort of a track” tries to warm himself at a candle with little success. Scrooge’s fire, even it was small, using little fuel, kept him considerably warmer than his clerk’s mere candle.
Dickens used this to illustrate the feeling that the poor were less important than the rich. During 1840s England, the conditions which the working classes lived under are described as “terrible”. However, they would rather die than enter the many workhouses provided by the state. While Bob Cratchit represents the poor and underprivileged, Scrooge, the character which the book mainly focuses on, represents the thoughts and viewpoints of the rich and middle classes and he says that the ‘sick and dying’, deserve to be where they are because ‘they do not work hard enough in life’.
The attitude that Scrooge expresses towards the working classes was that they should all be placed in “prisons and workhouses” and he refused to help or give money saying, “it is not my business” when a charitable gentlemen asks him to donate to his charity. It becomes obvious during the course of the novel that the rich had negative views towards poorer people and that if the poor ‘are likely to die instead of going to a workhouse’, then ‘they better do it and decrease the surplus of the population’, as the rich thought the poor were useless and they made London the overcrowded place that it was.
Charles Dickens portrays Victorian England, during Christmas as quite ‘wintry’ and ‘gloomy’ and emphasises this by comparing Scrooge to the wintry weather. He is compared with the wintry and also chilly weather because of the chilly way he looks and also his cold feelings towards the poor and underprivileged. ‘The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eye red his thin lips blues; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.
’ This shows how the facial features of Scrooge are described in comparison to the weather. Dickens uses lots imagery in the novel to give the reader a good idea of Scrooges surroundings were like, “It was cold, bleak biting weather; foggy withal; and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hand upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them.
” This gives helps the reader paint a vivid picture of the surrounding, as it describes what people could feel, hear and also their actions. In my opinion Charles Dickens portrays Victorian England very colourfully using lots of imagery and a number of techniques such as figurative language like similes and metaphors which help the reader create a vivid picture of what Victorian England would have been like. For example what it would have been like to be a poor, homeless person living in London or even living in a workhouse.