Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of the Victorian Era, and one of the most popular of all time. With his work appearing in periodicals and magazines in a serialised form growing evermore popular, Dickens soon published his first Novel in 1836 that would inevitably lead him to his future as a famous and well-respected author. Despite his popularity among his contemporaries Dickens has not been lost in time with his novels and written traditions still kept alive today.
His Novel A Christmas Carol has changed and captivated Christmas traditions throughout Britain and helped to establish ‘the spirit of Christmas’ that many of us adopt and celebrate today and this is why he is known by many as ‘The man who invented Christmas’. Dickens has also been praised throughout time for creating a gallery of unique personalities in his characters, an example of which is Scrooge. Scrooge is today a household name in Britain and is universally understood to describe the ‘humbugs’ of Christmas.
The opening paragraphs set the scene of a poor and underprivileged Victorian Christmas Eve during which money and the “plight of the poor” becomes evermore important to Dickens. The beginning of the novella opens the reader to a bitter, miserable, and very much money orientated Scrooge. As A Christmas Carol progresses we quickly notice a vast contrast between Scrooge and the other characters all of which are excited about the joyous occasion of Christmas. The first we hear of Scrooge is of his cold hearted and bitter nature described vividly through the weather. “No warmth could warm him, no wintry weather chill him.
No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty”. This series of negatives and comparisons to weather clearly illustrates to the reader the wretched and poignant man that is Scrooge. Throughout the novella Dickens uses pathetic fallacy to convey Scrooges personality and feeling reflected in the weather, for example, he “carried his own low temperature with him”. Soon the reader discovers Scrooges true uncharitable nature when he is greeted by two ‘portly’ gentlemen who ask for donation to the poor to which Scrooge bluntly replied, “Are there no prisons?
” once again the reader is shown clearly his condemnation of the poor and his general selfishness despite being very wealthy. Then as Scrooge is finishing off his monotonous work he says to Bob Cratchit, his loyal yet poorly paid clerk, “I suppose you will be wanting the whole day”. This is the first sign of Scrooge changing throughout the novel, which makes the reader begin to reassess Scrooges’ character. Shortly Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley. Apprehension overwhelms Scrooge as he begins to shout “humbug” in disbelief over the ghost.
Dickens quickly asserts Scrooges rather cynical view of the spiritual world through the clever pun, “there is more gravy than of grave about you”. But despite the mocking Scrooge slowly begins to believe that the ghost is real which is the first time the reader experiences Scrooge opening up and he begins to melt from his original block of ice as his personality and character becomes ‘warmer’. Throughout the novella dickens uses many method and techniques to portray Scrooge changing in many different aspects of life ranging from his use of language to his relationship with family.
He does this efficiently yet subtly through Scrooges journey with the three ghosts. When the story digresses and Scrooge embarks on his first of the three journeys he sees the town he grew up in and “muttered, with an unusual catching in his voice” when asked what was on his cheek to which he replied it was “a pimple”. The reader realizes at this point perhaps why Scrooge became the bitter man he is as we see “A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still”. We quickly learn that this is Scrooge as “he sobbed”.