Peter Cratchit Essay
Dickens reveals his feelings about the importance of children and family in many ways. He vividly describes to us in several scenes, children and family enjoying themselves on Christmas despite their poverty, for example the Cratchit family scenes. However in contrast to this he also shows children hopelessly suffering on the streets, for instance the ignorance and want scene and the surplus population scene. Dickens writes in a personal, conversational and emotional way. He has the imagination and the creativity of a child.
His style of writing challenged the views of Victorians, who disapproved of the importance of children and family. In Victorian times the society was declining so much that they had built workhouses and prisons for poor families and the surplus population to live in. Dickens style of writing is very unique and inventive. It is unlike any other Victorian authors who wrote in a manlier like attitude. They weren’t as emotional or sensitive as Dickens was. Unlike Victorians Dickens writes with the imagination and creativity of a child, whilst still writing the novel in a professional and successful manner.
He uses effective similes and metaphors to create almost ridiculous imagery, for example when Dickens describes a house in a neighbourhood, he describes it as, ‘playing at hide and seek with other houses’. This description would surprise many Victorians readers. Dickens made Victorians think, why is Charles Dickens a respected popular author writing as though he is a child? Dickens perhaps writes his descriptions in this manner because he wants Victorians to know that children are actually cleverer then what they are credited for.
Dickens fully believes that children should be free to unleash all their childish energy at times such as Christmas. Dickens creates a scene full of fun and excitement. When he writes, ‘What would I not have given to be one of them! ‘ this is a personal comment, typical of Dickens’ friendly, honest, conversational style. The Victorian readers would be impressed and slightly surprised by a grown man admitting to having such childlike impulses. Dickens describes children and family who enjoy Christmas despite their poverty. This is clearly shown in the first of the Cratchit scenes where he shows the family ecstatic with excitement and joy.
This ecstatic energy and excitement is shown when Tiny Tim was at the dinner table curiously waiting for his Christmas lunch, ‘he beat on the table with the handle of his knife’. This description makes the reader think that even Tiny Tim, of all children, persists to be active and enjoy Christmas. This is uprising due to the fact of Tiny Tim’s disabilities. Dickens also portrays how grateful the Cratchits are for the things they have. The Cratchits are not troubled with the miniature amount of food they have in their Christmas lunch, instead they are satisfied and content with it.
This is shown when Dickens allows the reader to know what thoughts are there inside the minds of the Cratchits, ‘nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family’. Dickens uses another technique to portray his message, this technique is called irony. He writes the phrase, ‘small pudding for a large family’, just to show to the readers how undersized the pudding would have really been compared to the amount needed for the family. Of curse the Cratchits would think the pudding was small but there is so much family strength and appreciation that none of them actually minded the size of the pudding.
Tiny Tim is an extremely important character in the novel. His character represents unfortunate and disabled children enjoying themselves at a time like Christmas. Although Tiny Tim is crippled and is on the edge of life he is still enthusiastic and grateful for the life given to him by God. At the end of the novel Dickens shows Tiny Tim’s importance and affection to others by him saying, ‘God Bless us, Every One’. Dickens writes these words with all capital letters in them to show the significance of the phrase. The death of Tiny Tim is a very depressing event which occurs in the novel.
Dickens uses a personal and emotional style of writing to describe Tiny Tim’s death. It is as if though Dickens realises Tiny Tim’s death as soon as the readers do, ‘The colour? Ah poor Tiny Tim! ‘ The Cratchit family are no longer described as cheerful and as ecstatic as they were in the first Cratchit scene. Instead Dickens describes Bob Crachit in the second scene as, ‘a man whose face was care-worn’, to describe what used to be a ‘joyful man’ in the first scene. The death of Tiny Tim has a very large impact on the Crachit family’s atmosphere.
Although the Crachits are deeply upset and depressed in the second scene they still persist to show the same family strength they had in the first scene. Every member in the family compliments each other no matter what the situation is like. For instance when Bob Cratchit says ‘you were a good wife’, straight after the remark his son Peter Cratchit says ‘everybody knows that! ‘ This is an indication of the immense respect the family members have towards each other. Scrooge is delighted when the first spirit takes him back to the past to show Scrooge when he was a child at school.
Scrooge is ecstatic to see his former self, this is indicated to the reader when Dickens describes the atmosphere, ‘a thousand odours were floating in the air with joy’. Dickens describes Scrooge’s journey to his childhood in such a positive way, this makes the reader realise that even Scrooge, a man who hates children, is delighted to see him back as a child. Scrooge wishes he was still a child and resents all the precious times where he has wasted his life on. Scrooge, a solitary dispassionate man even cries when he sees himself as a boy again, he lets emotion take over him unlike ever before.
This is pointed out to the reader when Dickens describes Scrooge’s actions and dialogue: ‘after drying his eyes with his cuffs: ‘It’s too late now to be a child’. As Scrooge sees his own childhood it changes his attitude towards children, he becomes more emotional and this makes Scrooge realise what a stubborn ignorant man he has become. This is shown to the readers when Scrooge shared his feelings to the spirit, ‘there was a boy singing Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should have liked to have given him something. That’s all’.
The reader gets a feeling that maybe Scrooge is feeling guilty of not giving the boy anything last night. Slowly the spirit is opening gateways into Scrooge’s mind making Scrooge more emotional and less ignorant. Fred and his uncle Scrooge have a very mixed relationship. It is obvious that Fred likes his uncle because he talks proudly of him, he also defends his uncle’s name when other people are mocking Scrooge. In one of the scenes Fred says to a crowd of people, ‘A merry Christmas and a happy new year to the old man, whatever he is!