‘A Christmas Carol’ is a novella written by Charles Dickens which illustrates a somewhat happy Christmas story that highlights the importance of being a kind hearted person. Throughout his novella, Dickens’s shows the reader his intended moral of the story, that Scrooge’s transformation at the end of the novella is what Dickens’s hopes that our world will too surely change. This is evident throughout the novella as he depicts Scrooge (before the conversion), the main character; to stand for all that Dickens is against.
He also puts the idea of Utilitarianism into the way Scrooge acts at the start of the novella, which Dickens also seems to dislike. Dickens then goes on to describe Scrooge, after his conversion, in a different way to at the start of the novella, which depicts all that Dicken wishes human kind would act. It is clear to the reader from the start of the novella that Dickens believes that a person like Scrooge is the type of person that Dickens dislikes.
Right from the start of the novella, Dickens describes Scrooge as ‘self-contained, and solitary as an oyster’ which clearly outlines that Scrooge is a person who keeps to himself and does not really have another companion to share his life with. Dickens also uses the weather to show Scrooge in a way that is negative. He describes Scrooge in many ways, such as, ‘he carried his own low temperature always about with him’, which explains that Scrooge takes his bad manners and temper wherever he goes.
Dickens also describes Scrooge as a man who does not get affected by anything, by saying ‘No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him’.
In contrast to Scrooge’s ‘cold weather’ attitude, Dickens uses another character, Fred, who is Scrooge’s nephew, to show just how bad Scrooge’s character really is. Dickens does this by describing Fred as ‘all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled’ which are much are appealing to a reader as the visuals are much more warm and friendly, when compared to those of Scrooge’s cold manners. Dickens also makes it very clear that Scrooge is more than a cold man; he is a cold man that does not care about Christmas.
He iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas’. This quote, along with ‘”every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding”’ are great examples from the book that show that Scrooge is an unloving and uncaring person, even around the time of Christmas. These ways that Dickens portrays Scrooge, as they are bad ways, make it clear that he is putting into Scrooge the traits and attitudes that Dickens does not like in a person, and when comparing them to Fred, show that people like Fred are much more liked.
Dickens also plays with Scrooges character to depict the idea and consequences of Utilitarianism. Before the conversion of Scrooge, he is made out to be a man who only cares about money and nothing or nobody else. This is clear, as in Stave Two of the novella, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to where he used to work, and shows Scrooge how, Fezziwig his old boss, was easily able to bring happiness to many people, without spending a lot of money or having a lot of money at all.
This helps Scrooge to realise that money may not really always bring happiness, and someone cannot live on loving money and hoping from happiness off their wealth. This is clear in the novella when Scrooge reflects on what he saw at Fezziwig’s, by saying ‘The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune’. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to another memory, this time, to his old girlfriend’s, Belle’s, house. There Scrooge sees the enactment of when Belle left Scrooge.
Scrooge sees Belle talking to the young Scrooge and says, ‘Another idol has displaced me’ ‘A golden one’. These two quotes clearly show that Scrooge chose money over his relationship with Belle. Scrooge then begs the Ghost of Christmas Past to show him no more memories as he begins to feel tortured. The ghost then takes Scrooge to another place, where Scrooge finds himself in the home of an older version of Belle, happy with a husband and children. This vision would have helped Scrooge to realise just what he might have had, if he didn’t throw his love with Belle away for his love for money.
By using these memories on Scrooge, he begins to realise that maybe he isn’t happy with his life after all, and may need to change the way he acts now, in the present. By showing Scrooge as a money-loving person, Dickens again shows that people like this, who are like Scrooge, will not find happiness in their lives, just like Scrooge finds himself realising. At the end of the novella, Scrooge goes through a significant conversion and turns into the type of person Dickens seems to hope that other people too choose to live like.
After Scrooge is visited by the three ghosts, he realises that money isn’t everything and that family do matter. Dickens changes his description of Scrooge from the way he described him at the start of the book, as he changes from cold weather descriptive words, to warmer and friendlier words. An example to this is when Dickens describes Scrooge as ‘He was so flustered and so glowing with his good intentions’. Flustered and glowing both give the audience a more friendlier and warmer feel towards Scrooge, which is in complete contrast to when he was describes as a cold and unwelcoming man.
This clear conversion works well as it shows that a person is happier when they don’t worry about money or that they care about their family and other people. So therefore the person that Scrooge becomes at the end of the novella is the type of person that Dickens hopes that other people choose to act like. The moral behind ‘A Christmas Carol’ is clearly an indication of just how Dickens believes people should act towards one another and their views on things such as money and family.
This is identified in the novella as before Scrooge changes his motives, he is described as a cold hearted and unwelcoming person, which is depicted in a cold and scary way. When this is put in contrast with how Scrooge acts at the end of the novella, after the conversion, he is more of a warm and caring person, that the readers are lead to believe is a more likeable person. This clearly shows that the person that Scrooge becomes, is what Dickens likes in a person.