A Christmas Carol Essay
A Christmas Carol
His room has undergone a transformation which is symbolic of Scrooge’s attitude changing dramatically towards goodness. Dickens uses colour to explore the detail in the room. ‘The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe and ivy reflected back the light. ‘ This also resembles the goodness of Christmas as Christmas items are commented upon. On the floor then appears a kind of throne, there were ‘turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat.
‘ This represents richness and also creates setting. The description of the ghost reinforces the goodness of his character: ‘free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice’. This is what Scrooge should become. As Scrooge speaks to the spirit he realises how he is changing his attitude towards goodness. ‘I learnt a lesson which is working now. To-night, if you have aught to teach me, let me profit by it. ‘ Dickens uses the senses to make the description rich which is in contrast to the poverty we next visit.
‘that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, re-calling, in their fragrance’. ‘innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers’ shop. The sight of the poor revellers appeared to interest the spirit very much. ‘ In this stave the weather is in direct contrast to the stave before. Dickens makes such rich contrast in the setting to address the theme of goodness and also to create the mood of what is to come. In this stave the weather has changed as it is an urban setting and murky and grim.
‘The sky was gloomy, and the shortest streets were choked up with a dingy mist’. Whereas in the stave before the weather was bright with clear skies and a rural setting. ‘The darkness and the mist had vanished with it, for it was a clear, cold, wintry day with snow upon the ground. ‘ Dickens does not limit harshness to the urban setting. ‘they stood upon a bleak and desert moor, where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about. This resembles the background to the poverty Scrooge sees. Dickens also uses personification again to create character instead of setting.
‘Fat chestnuts are like fat men and onions are like Spanish friars, providing a cheerful background to the bustle of Christmas’. In Stave four we meet the last of the spirits, the spirit of the future. It is evident that Scrooge’s attitude towards goodness is changing as Scrooge waits for the spirit to show guidance to make him a better person. ‘But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me? ‘ The spirit then takes them both to a dark urban setting to explore Scrooge’s future.
‘They scarcely seemed to enter the city; for the city rather seemed to spring up about them’. We then hear Scrooge’s business associates talking. They are described as ugly and unpleasant characters which resemble what Scrooge was like. ‘No,’ said a great fat man with the monstrous chin’. As Scrooge hears the business men talk about his death he realises how no one cares about his death and becomes hurt. ‘This pleasantry was received with a general laugh. It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral’. Scrooge demands to be taken to where someone cares.
The spirit then takes them to the Crachits’ household where the family are unusually quiet as they grieve over the unexpected death of Tiny Tim, and not Scrooge. ‘Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Crachit’s were still as statues in one corner’. ‘Ah, poor Tiny Tim! ‘ Scrooge feels guilty about his death and feels sympathetic. The spirit finally takes Scrooge to a dark graveyard and his gravestone which reinforces what Scrooge will become if he does not change. There he breaks down into complete grief and says how he has learnt his lesson and he is a changed man and how he knows how his responsibility to society has a great importance.
‘I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, Present and Future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lesson that they teach. ‘ This is similar to J. B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ as the theme that runs throughout the play is Responsibility to Society. Interestingly it also resembles the play in the way time is changed The final Stave contrasts sharply with the first Stave as both Character and Setting have dramatically changed.
The setting in the first stave was cold and bleak but here there is ‘No fog, no mist, clear, bright, jovial, stirring cold; cold piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky’. This is symbolic of Scrooge’s character as he has dramatically changed from the start when he was a tight and mean man. Throughout the novel Scrooge has changed his attitude and developed goodness. He has learnt a lesson from the three spirits, each changing him bit by bit. It is evident as in each Stave he slightly changes his attitude. This is also reflected in the setting as each Stave explores the theme of goodness.