I read and studied “a Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Dickens was born on the 7th of February 1812 at Portsea in Hampshire. He had eight brothers and sisters who all lived with their parents, John and Elizabeth Dickens. John Dickens worked in series of different places and had to continuously move houses to avoid paying his debts. However, these were probably the high pints of Charles childhood as they were soon shipped back to London where his father’s debts became inferior.
Charles had to depart school early and work to try and help his dad’s economic problems.
Nevertheless, John Dickens was arrested and sent to Marshalsea, a prison for debtors and soon after, the rest of the family followed him. As john’s mother died in 1824, they were released from prison but spent the rest of their lives worrying about returning there. Charles resumed his school education and achieved the role of a clerk for a solicitor. Charles started his writing career by publishing short stories in local magazines and newspapers.
It wasn’t until the 1840s that he started writing “A Christmas Carol”. During this time, the area in which he lived in was congested with poverty.
This was also the time when new laws were enforced to endow with better living conditions for children. Among these laws, was one, which made education compulsory for children under the age of 13. According to this law, every child under 13 must attend school for at least two hours a day. Even though circumstances were improving for children, they were not for workers.
London, the capital of England, lacked housing and sewage facilities. The superfluous population was not helping either. This was due to people moving to cities from the countryside in search of work.
It was not a nice period to live in, but it gave Dickens inspiration, which is shown in his novel; in “a Christmas Carol”, the poverty is revealed on the streets: “… some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered… ” In ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens makes the reader aware of the conditions of the poor in many subtle ways. ‘A Christmas Carol’ wasn’t written for a certain class, or type of person, it was written for all people of all ages, and the main message that he tries to get across is that you don’t need to be rich to be happy.
As this book was written for all people, its content could not be offensive, and that is why Dickens had to make the descriptions of the conditions subtle, this is how he made it palatable. He makes the readers aware so that they will try to help people that aren’t as well off as themselves. I also think that the fact that there are ghosts in the story serve to make it more palatable, more pleasant. “A Christmas Carol” depicts the story of an old miser named Scrooge and how his fate is changed when he is visited by his deceased partner and three spirits, Christmas past, present and future.
These are all shown to him to perhaps change his miserly ways. The story of “A Christmas Carol is written by Charles Dickens and is split up into “Staves” not “Chapters”. The author uses this as a light joke and uses it as a pun because carols are split up into staves, i. e. note the title “A Christmas Carol”. Also this continues in the musical theme. We can tell that this story is located in a particular time in history by a number of reasons. The story is published in 1843, as stated on the cover. The book is largely centred around the concept of poverty which was widely in evidence during this era.
At about this time, a writer called Thomas Malthus wrote an essay entitled, “Essay on Population”. This argued that the population was too big and that there were too many people being born. This point is emphasised when Scrooge is talking to the charitable gentleman about making a donation for the poor and Scrooge’s reply is to let the people die in the workhouse to reduce the surplus population. At this time, the Poor Law amended the Act of 1834 which abolished outdoor relief and established workhouses for the poor, which resembled prisons.
Conditions were extremely poor. The work was tedious and the food was insufficient. Men, women and children were divided and the system was feared by them all. Dickens also thought that this system was inhumane. He attacked this system in “Oliver Twist” and highlighted the attitudes which had created it in “A Christmas Carol”. This shows that the book was written at this time in history because it coincided with the Poor Law amendment which features in “A Christmas Carol”. The author begins by describing Scrooge.
We are told of how parsimonious he is. He is described as a: “squeezing, grasping, wrenching, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! ” The author the goes onto describe his face; he tells us of a crooked nose and cold sharp features. This gives us a cold mental picture of Scrooge without even hearing a word from him. These words paint a very grim picture of Scrooge but never the less an accurate description. They clearly emphasise the eventual change that transpire within Scrooge.