How does Dickens teach both Scrooge and the reader a moral lesson in "A Christmas Carol"?

Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. It was a story that is designed to harness our emotions and rattle our consciences. His reasons for writing the book were to convince his readers for the need of reform. Dickens did this because he was aware of what life used to be like: many houses had an average of thirty people and children as young as nine were working. Charles Dickens intended to write a story with an uplifting moral. He showed this by Scrooge being visited by Marley and three sprits.

Dickens did this because he felt he could make a difference to try and change wealthy people into giving money to the poor as he saw what poor people and himself went through. The spirit of Christmas Past, Present and Future all represented different parts of Scrooge’s life and made him think about himself. Dickens’ moral on the spirits of Christmases is that it is charity, generosity and kindness and it belongs to us all year round.

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When the spirits visit Scrooge his is taken on a journey of self-discovery. Dickens makes clear to us in the opening stave that Scrooge is a character who needs to learn a lesson.

He does this by comparing Scrooge a lot to hard and cold words to create imagery. Scrooge is seen as miserly because he doesn’t let Bob Cratchit have a decent fire. “; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master ‘predicted that it would be necessary for them to part.

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” Scrooge thinks he has power of his employees and the poor as when two friendly gentlemen, that ask him for money for the poor, visit him, he turns them away and asks. “Are there no prisons? ” Dickens’ life taught him how appalling life was when he was born and tries to teach us to be thankful for our lives and to be charitable.

Dickens also shows this when Scrooge’s nephew visits him and tries to wish him a merry Christmas. Dickens is showing us to be hospitable and to be a part of each other and not just care about yourself. When Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge, he tells him that he should involve people in his life and it shouldn’t just evolve around himself. Marley’s ghost warns Scrooge to change otherwise he will turn out like himself. Although Dickens makes use of the Christmas setting in many different ways during the story, People have sometimes accused Charles Dickens of inventing this expression of Christmas.

Dickens, when talking about Christmas, talks about the food a lot. He encourages us to think of the food in extreme terms. As he says the “chestnuts” are not just warm but “red hot” and the “apples” aren’t just red but “cherry cheeked”. Although Dickens uses superlatives a lot when talking about Christmas, as he exaggerates the qualities of the things he describes, his main message is still that Christmas is a time for love, giving and sharing. Dickens presents different views on Christmas to the reader. He presents Scrooge’s view on Christmas, his nephew’s and Bob Cratchit’s.

Scrooge’s view on Christmas was that it was “humbug. ” He thought it was all about money and anyone poorer than him shouldn’t enjoy Christmas. “What reason have you to be happy? You’re poor enough. ” Scrooge’s Nephew’s view however on Christmas is that it is a “kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time” and should think about love, family and life other than money as it is not everything in life. Bob Cratchit, though severely over-worked and under-paid, still proposed a toast to Scrooge on Christmas morning, believing that was what he deserved.

Dickens shows us what Christmas should be like rather than how it is like for most people. In the Victorian times, many people kept it as a Christian festival and most welcomed Christmas day as a time of rest. In “A Christmas Carol”, most employees receive only one day as a holiday at Christmas. Scrooge calls this “A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December! ” and insists that his clerk must “Be here all the earlier next morning”. Dickens is trying to show Scrooge as being an evil character and showing how miserly he is.

Firstly, Scrooge is visited first by Marley’s ghost, his old business partner, on Christmas Eve. When Marley first comes, is he seen on the doorknocker, but then appears as he, wrapped in chains that represent what his life was like. “Cashboxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel”. Marley’s first used to scare Scrooge by making noise, but he then helps Scrooge a lot to think about what he will be like if he doesn’t change. He also tells Scrooge that life shouldn’t evolve around money. “The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, for earance and benevolence, were, all my business. ”

When Marley says this he is warning Scrooge to start think of others, other than him or he would become more like Marley, an eerie shadow, chained and bound, destined to wander the earth for eternity. Secondly, Scrooge is visited by the spirit of Christmas past. The spirits appearance was described as “a strange figure of a child” referring to him to be Jesus. On the other hand, He was also described as God. “Yet not so like a child as like an old man”. He is described very detailed when he first comes and sees Scrooge.

He is expressed like that to show what Scrooge’s life was like in the past. The spirit of Christmas past uses irony a lot when talking to Scrooge about his past. “What was a merry Christmas to Scrooge? Out upon merry Christmas! What had it ever done to him? ” The spirit of Christmas Past uses irony because he was implying that Scrooge doesn’t enjoy Christmas but should change. When Scrooge looks back on his past, he realises how lonely he used to be in school and refers to himself as a “poor forgotten self”. We can also see this, as his book as his only company.

When he visited Fezziwig he learnt that people don’t need to have money to be happy and to be sorry for pain. Thirdly, Scrooge is visited by the spirit of Christmas present. He wore a “simple deep green robe bordered with fur” that resembled Father Christmas. When looking at his present, they visited the Cratchit’s to show love and happiness. Here, Dickens uses a lot of imagery and uses superlatives to describe the food and surrounding. When visiting back to the Cratchit’s house, they show so much affection and excitement on Christmas Day.

They use many exclamation marks to show the enthusiasm in the family. For example, Bob Cratchit says “Hurrah! ” and “Lord bless ye! “. Dickens uses these to bring excitement into the household. This helps Scrooge think about how alone he is and that Christmas Day should be more than a normal day to him. Dickens uses Tiny Tim to make Scrooge think about how you should involve and value other people in your life and to treasure your friends. “Oh no, kind spirit, Say he will be spared. ” Here we see Scrooge changing and thinking more about other people like Tiny Tim and others that are not as fortunate as him.

The spirit of Christmas present uses much irony when talking about Scrooge to show him what he had said and how he should change. “If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. ” Scrooge was “overcome with penitence and grief” to say that he is changing and he should be thinking of more than himself. Lastly, Scrooge is visited by the spirit of Christmas yet to come, who wears a deep black garment, which covers his head, face and form to represent Scrooge’s future.

Scrooge has been dreading the future the most as he thinks he’s thinks he’s too old to change, but he knows he should to help himself. I fear you more than any Spectre I have seen. ” Scrooge knows he should change and finds out from the spirit of Christmas yet to come what people think about him. Although the spirit says nothing at all, Scrooge knows what he is expecting and what he will be like unless he changed. When Scrooge overhears two men talking about someone that died, and how delighted they were, he fears the worst. Dickens shows the reader and Scrooge what people think of him to try and explain to us how miserly he has been and how there is always time to change.

Scrooge also sees when people steal from him, they take everything he owned, which was very little for the money he had. Dickens does this because he wanted to show Scrooge and the reader that when he died, no one cared or respected him. Scrooge shows that the three spirits have helped him change as he says, “I’m not the man I was. ” This shows us that he is prepared to change for his future and for people like Tiny Tim that needs his help. We see that at the end of the book when Scrooge became a “second father” to Tiny Tim.

The ghosts are used to teach both Scrooge and the reader about the consequences of our behaviour. They do this by showing us different parts of Scrooge’s life and how he learned from the spirits and his past. Dickens shows that Scrooge is learning his lesson and changing as a person through the use of figurative language. He does this by using personification on his eyes and how he is compared to the cold and money. “There was an eager, greedy, restless motion in the eye”. This quote is referring to money and Scrooge’s greed towards it. In stave 1, Scrooge is compared to and described as a cold person.

Dickens uses hard adjectives to describe him as he illustrates his body parts to be “nipped”, “shrivelled” and “stiffened”. Dickens uses many metaphors when talking about Scrooge and money and how he should think more about his life than money. Scrooge was rejected by his fianci?? because of his obsession for money and gold. “What idol has displaced you? ” he rejoined. “A golden one. ” Scrooge is saying that money meant more to him than his fianci?? did. When Scrooge looks back on this time, he realises he should have thought more of his family and friends rather than money.

However, at the end of the novel, when Scrooge pretends to be angry that Bob Cratchit is late, he gives him a pay rise and tells him not to be working on Christmas Day and to go and spend time with the family. “And therefore I am about to raise you salary! ” Scrooge is changing his views on worth, value and profit. You can tell this because he is more generous at the end of stave 5. He is also prepared to buy the Cratchits a turkey the size of a small boy as he has learnt be more generous because he knows the consequences if he doesn’t change.

In stave three, the spirit of Christmas present shows Scrooge two children: Ignorance and Want. They symbolise the plight of the poor and the causes of their poverty. This helps Scrooge and the reader think about the poor and how he should have contributed more to charity to help them, because they need all the help they can get. The spirit of Christmas present explains to Scrooge that these are the children of mankind and that they should be avoided, especially Ignorance, or doom is imminent.

The structure and style of “A Christmas Carol” helps to reinforce a moral message by having the staves showing his steps if life and seeing how Scrooge changed throughout the story. Dickens choose to use staves instead of chapters because in a carol, you have staves as the verses and Dickens used these to bring out the Christmas setting. Dickens’ authoritative narrative voice helps to control and reinforce the message we as readers hear as he explains the next thing that happens or describes a person or a scene as it the narrative voice is not always clear.

For example, Dickens writes to the reader personally by using “Oh”. Dickens communicates his moral messages strongly through the use of strong nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. For example, when describing Ignorance and Want: “Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. ” Dickens is comparing Ignorance and Want to the poor and helps to create imagery by the use of adjectives, nouns and verbs. Dickens also uses long sentences to describe Scrooge. Dickens conveys the idea that Christmas should be a time of doing things and spending time with your family.

This compares to Scrooges’ Christmases because he usually spends time with himself and considers Christmas Day to be just another day. Dickens’ message about being social is to spend time with everyone and you can never have too many friends. Scrooge’s character has drastically changed at the end of the novel . Scrooge learns to live in the past, present and the future. Dickens uses similes when Scrooge is talking in the last stave. Scrooge compares himself as “light as a feather”, “as happy as an angel” and as “merry as a school boy”.

Scrooge also says he’s “quite a baby”. He says this is as he believes he’s learnt his lesson and has changed from what he used to be like. I think by saying he’s reborn is quite convincing because I believe that reading the book and seeing where I think he’s changing and then to see him completely changed at the last stave. I think readers do learn a moral lesson and gain self-knowledge from the story because Dickens has used a very uplifting narrative that makes ourselves think about what we can do to change and what we can learn from how Scrooge has changed.

Dickens’ aim of the story was to convince his readers for reform and to create a story with an uplifting moral. I think he has successfully reached his aim as it made people think and re-examine our own priorities. My own reaction of the story is that it was an exciting narrative and I thought the ending of the story (stave 5) was very uplifting because you could see how Scrooge has changed and how he actually enjoyed Christmas for what it was. The moral lesson was that you should enjoy Christmas and there is always time to change.

I thought that moral was very accurate and would make someone think about their actions and behaviour. In my opinion however, I don’t think the book is as magical and special as it was when it first came out. I believe it is out-dated and doesn’t help people learn from the book as much as it did. The fact that there are many different adaptations available each Christmas suggests it’s still popular and wants to target a younger target audience to try and make Christmas more unique and supernatural. I still however think the book and film is archaic and doesn’t create such an exquisite storyline as it did.

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How does Dickens teach both Scrooge and the reader a moral lesson in "A Christmas Carol"?. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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