Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in October 1843. It was the voice of the poor in London at that period. There was a great divide between the classes, Dickens wrote a Christmas Carol so that his readers could learn about the class divide and the suffering of the poor in London; Dickens shows the contrast very well in A Christmas Carol. Dickens came from a family who experienced debt. Charles’ younger years where evidently very hard, although he quoted that himself and his family ‘loved Christmas and celebrated it with a smile’, even thought he family lived on a low wage.
When Dickens started to write A Christmas Carol he often walked the streets of London gathering ideas and looking at the poor people living in their slums. There is no doubt that Dickens’ life encouraged him to write A Christmas Carol, his father was thrown in prison for being in debt and Charles had to work at a boot blackening factory on the banks of the Thames. In A Christmas Carol we meet Scrooge ‘a tight fisted’ and very rich man, who lived life on as little as possible so not to ‘waste his well earned money’. In a Christmas carol he is a caricature – the worst possible person anyone could have met.
Dickens lists negatives in the story to display the kind of man he is; Scrooge was a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner” Dickens also uses similes to describe him through out the book, it begins on a simile as ‘dead as a door nail’ this is a clichi?? d simile – a simile that is constantly used in common vocabulary. Dickens used a clichi?? because the poor and uneducated would have recognised and enjoyed his language, and the wealthy would realize the unarguable nature of the fact.
He also uses then to describe Scrooge he was “as solitary as an oyster” he refuses to speak with anyone long terms at the start of the book, Dickens writes that “even blind mans dogs even hide form him”, backing up that scrooge was a caricature. Scrooge plays the part of the upper classes in London, not noticing the divide in society. The upper classes believed that the poor where too lazy to work. Therefore the Victorians created workhouses – a place where the poor worked for a bed and food for them self and their families.
These places were help slightly by the work of the philanthropists. Scrooge also does not like philanthropists – people who want to collect money to help the poor “are there no prisons? ” asked Scrooge. “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then? ” said Scrooge. “Both very busy, sir. ” This show that Scrooge considers money over human welfare, and that he does not want to learn about the plight of the poor; this reflects the views of many wealthy businessmen of the day. “I’m very glad to hear it” answers Scrooge to help the philanthropists regarding the workhouse.
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die. ” This depicts the truly callous side to the class division. “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”. The poor law was the only way of collecting money for the poor, and this tax was so very little that it hardly helped any of the poor or needy. The first ghost Scrooge is haunted by is that of his old business partner Jacob Marley. He warns of three other ghosts that will haunt Scrooge in the coming night.
Jacob and Scrooge ran the business of loan agents their aim was to target the poor people of London lending them large amounts of money, money these people could ill afford and when the deadline came to pay him back; and may couldn’t they where thrown into prison and their belongings sold. Marley wore chains “I wear the chain I forged in life,” said Marley “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it”. Marley wore the chains because of every bad thing he did in his lifetime another link was added to the chain.
This shows us that Marley was not a kind person. “Is its pattern strange to you? ” The ghost questions Scrooge. Marley is warning Scrooge that when he dies he shall have a chain of his own due to all his bad deeds. Marley states that making money was his business “mankind was my business” At one o’clock, the ghost appears, the features of the ghost were ever changing an old man a young child. This portrays the two ages that would suffer the most at Christmas time; it also shows the in fluctuation between past – Scrooges youth and the present -Scrooge nowadays.