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Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ is probably one of the most unforgettable stories passed down the generations. ‘A Christmas Carol’, although it is of a different time period still today teaches valuable lessons. In the story, Ebenezer Scrooge begins by having no feelings for anything or anybody. In the end, he changes from his gloomy, dark self. Charles Dickens expresses through a Christmas Carol that kindness can lead to happiness. A Christmas Carol shows how the Christmas spirit and caring people can change a person and their outlook on life.
Dickens wrote this story partly to make people conscious of the appalling plight of the children of the poor. Firstly, Dickens has many elements in his style of writing that makes him a first-class writer. He uses similes and metaphors very imaginatively to catch the readers’ mind and engage them into his story, for example, ‘… self-contained, and solitary as an oyster’, this is a simile and tells us that Scrooge keeps to himself and doesn’t trust anyone with anything.
Here is one of Dickens’ metaphors, ‘… he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone…’, this sort descriptive writing is much more artistic and builds a much more stronger picture of Scrooge or whatever he is trying to portray. Dickens also gives his views on a subject, which gives it a further personal touch, ‘… I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nails the deadest piece of ironmongery… ‘ this makes people think about what he has said, and makes them wonder whether they agree with his opinion or not.
In ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens doesn’t waste any time telling us what has happened already in the story which may play a big part in the story or it may not, in the case of the forthcoming quote I think it doesn’t play a big part in the story but I do think it does play a significant role in the story as the spectre of Marley returns on Christmas Eve to tell Marley that he should change his ways and become a better person, Marley also tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three other supernatural beings.
For example he tells us straight away that Marley is dead, ‘Marley was dead… ‘ I like this part of Dickens’ writing style because it catches your attention straight away and makes you want to read on and find out how Marley died, who was he, was he important in his community, did he have a wife and any children.
Especially in this case, Dickens tells us that Marley is dead in the first sentence of the story which is even more attention catching because if a person was looking for a book to read and was reading the first sentence or paragraph to see if it would be interesting to read, then the first thing the reader would see in ‘A Christmas Carol’ is that a person has died which will make them want to get involved and read on. Dickens uses exaggeration to put his point across, ‘External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge… ‘ this gives the characters a better description and a stronger picture of the characters’ personality.
Dickens also uses quite a lot of words that have the identical endings, ‘A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! ‘, this creates patterns and repetitions to give emphasis and rhythm, ‘Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend and sole mourner. ‘, this gives a strong impression of Marley because Scrooge was his only friend and no-one else. This means that Marley must have been an unpleasant, bitter and lonely person because none of Marley’s relatives or friends excluding Scrooge turned up to his funeral which is rather sad.
Dickens uses a lot of dialogue especially when the ghost of Marley appears which builds up the atmosphere and tension; this keeps us on the edge of our seat wondering what was going to happen next. Dickens is very good at catching the readers’ imagination mainly for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Dickens manages to keep the suspense through most of the Staves especially in Stave One, this is very hard to maintain particularly throughout a whole stave but some how Dickens manages to do this. This is probably shown best when the spectre of Marley appears in Stave One. “How now!” said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever, “What do you want with me? ” “Much! ” Marley’s voice, no doubt about it. “Who are you? ” “Ask me who I was. ” “Who are you then? ” said raising his voice. This maintenance of suspense catches the reader’s imagination by keeping the reader guessing what was going to happen next and who the spectre is, therefore keeping the reader engrossed in the story Dickens uses quite a lot of vivid details and images which is a good asset to possess as a writer as it is really fine catcher of imagination because it creates a strong impression of a character or a scene.
He also uses descriptions which appeals to different senses which is a very hard technique to learn, ‘The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. ‘ This is a perfect example of vivid details as you can imagine the facial expression of Scrooge and how the features of his face would seem, it builds a strong image of how petrified Scrooge was.
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