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Explore the ways that Scrooge’s emotions change in “A Christmas Carol” The story will not leave us, but will “haunt” us “pleasantly” as Dickens hoped. We are experiencing this by exploring the ways that emotions of main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, change during reading “A Christmas Carol”. Charles Dickens uses a lot of adjectives and many similes in order to present a clear image of what Scrooge looks like, as well as his personality, and this is before we have ever met him: “Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire.
The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice”. The fact his nose is “pointed” emphasises his sharp and unforgiving nature, which has shown perfectly when he refused to help “poor” by donating some money. For Scrooge it would be better “if they would rather die”, as he “can’t afford to make idle people merry”.
Scrooge is described as being “solitary as an oyster”.
This simile suggests he is shut up, tightly closed and will not be prised open except by force. However, oysters often contain pearls, so this simile also suggests there might be good buried deep inside him, underneath the hard, brittle shell. Scrooge is so mean and greedy that rather than spend money painting out his business partner, Jacob Marley’s, name above the door of the office he prefers to leave it as it is: “Scrooge never painted out old Marley’s name”.
He leaves miserable life with no friends, as “nobody ever stopped him in the street”.
Scrooge doesn’t celebrate Christmas and think:” Every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with stake of holly through his heart”. Cheerful and jolly Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, provides opposite argument. His believe that man and women should “open their shut-up heats freely” and think of others as well as themselves is, in fact, the central argument of the whole novella. Scrooge finds difficult to understand how Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk, can consider this a “merry” time of year, when he has to support his wife and children on only fifteen shillings a week.
Scrooge feels he might as well “retire to Bedlam”, as the whole world is going mad around him. “Oyster” soul of Scrooge will be forced to open up by visit of Ghost of his dead business partner. Marley’s Ghost is covered with chains “of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel”. These items represent or symbolize the aspects of life Marley focused on – he was more concerned with his business than other people. Therefore his punishment- is “to wonder through the world- oh, woe is me!
– and witness what is cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness! ” Marley’s Ghost is warned Scrooge on Christmas Eve, that he might” have yet a chance and hope of escaping” his fate. Scrooge has been affected by Marley’s Ghost, as he breaks his normal routine, checking the door and verbally dismissing the events. So he is trying to behave as usual and tries to reject all that has happened, but he is not able to. In Stave 2 we learnt about Scrooge lonely childhood, which explains some reasons for Scrooge’s behaviour.
He experienced this through visit of The Ghost of Christmas Past, who looks like a child and like a man at the same time. Scrooge can’t bear the light that emitting from the Ghost’s head, as might recognise the difference between the purity of his childhood, and the life he is now living. Scrooge’s response to being shown the countryside of his childhood is immediate: his lip trembles, there is a catch in his voice: “Scrooge muttered, with an unusual catching in his voice, that it was a pimple”.
This is very different behaviour to that we have seen so far in Scrooge and it is interesting that he can change so quickly. We are shown that Scrooge had an unhappy childhood, as very often he had to stay alone at school for Christmas: “A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still”. On the other hand, we can see real enthusiasm and love for his sister, Fan, when Ghost speaks about her: “But she had a large heart”. This relationship was obviously very important to Scrooge. Sad, lonely times in his childhood can explain some of the reasons for Scrooge’s behaviour.
We can start to understand now a terror of being poor led him to focus purely on money. Even money is the main factor, why Belle, the young women Scrooge was once engaged to marry, leaves him wishing him happiness “in the life you have chosen”. She calls money his “Idol”, suggesting he not only loves it but also worships it as a false god. If Scrooge have had chosen Belle instead of money, he could not be a “quite alone in the world”, as Belle has a loving family and husband and the house is full of laughter and energy.
The contrast is effective and the point clear- love of money can destroy human love. Ghost of Christmas Present, a spirit in the form of a giant clad in the festive robes, takes Scrooge to see Christmases of other people in order to show him that even in wretched conditions people a lot less fortunate than himself celebrate Christmas with gusto: “but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had A Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day”.
This was “a great surprise to Scrooge”, as he never celebrates Christmas. Tiny Tim bring out Scrooge’s compassionate side and we realise there is a chance for “solitary oyster” to have a soul. Tiny Tim is ideal Victorian child, who is symbolising the plight of the poor and evoke feeling of charity in the rich. Tim has been to church with his father, Bob Cratchit, and “hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.
” Tim is not able to survive without external support. Scrooge is became aware and show his kindness towards Bob’s disabled son after realising the role he has played in the Cratchit’s poverty. The Ghost of Christmas present questions the power that some people have assumed “to decide what men shall live, what men shall die”. This strong speech affects Scrooge greatly, as he has taught a lesson about how his miserable behaviour affects not only is own future, but the future of those around him.
Dickens brings very good contrasts by showing happy and cheerful Bob Cratchit, who is despite living a very hard life and working in terrible conditions in Scrooge’s county house was grateful to his boss and proposed toast to him, on Christmas Eve, as “Founder of the Feast”. Dickens reminds us that Christmas is above all about valuing people rather than anything that money can buy. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to come provides disturbing but effective images of what will happen if Scrooge doesn’t make mankind his business.
In Stave 4 Scrooge’s money is shown to be a target for the thieves, who justify their actions with reference to his meanness. It also becomes a point of discussion for his ex-colleagues who only want to know what had happened to it, and care nothing for Scrooge as a man at all. Scrooge comes across as completely different character from the one we first met. When Scrooge sees him name on the gravestone, he realises he needs to change forever: “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will leave in the Past, Present and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.
I will not shut out the lessons that they teach”. In the final Stave we see joyous, happy Scrooge, completely transformed from the one we met at the beginning of the novella. He is happy to be alive and in spreading this happiness creates yet more: “His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him”. His altered behaviour- “rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh”- combined with his generous actions to those around him, persuade us that he is a changed man. He bought turkey and sent to the Cratchits, he made large donations to the Charity Collectors he sent away the day before.
Even bright and sunny weather reflects Scrooge transformation. Dickens describing effectively emotions of main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, in “A Christmas Carol” by using a lot of contrasts, imagery, simile, adjectives. It is through the visitation of Marley’s Ghost, as well as Christmas Spirits, that Scrooge is taught a lesson about how miserable behaviour affects not only his own future but the future of those around him. Therefore at the end of novella “Scrooge was better than his world” in his new life, as a proof, that “solitary oyster” has a soul.
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