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A Christmas Carol

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Introduction

Compare Dickens' portrayal of Scrooge in Stave 1 with Scrooge in Stave 5. Comment on the effects of Dickens' choice of language and form. Explain and discuss how these two sides of Scrooge reflect the society of the time and the treatment of the poor. In the book 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens, there is a stark contrast between Scrooge, the main character, in Stave 1 to the Scrooge he becomes in Stave 5. However, this change is not the only one, there is also a change in how Dickens uses his literary techniques to emphasize the change in Scrooge. These techniques consist of Dickens' use of verbs and adjectives intertwined with his abundance of similes and repetition. Dickens also uses punctuation to help the reader feel the atmosphere shown in the book. The book also hints at how the poor were treated at the time, the rich would refer to them as the 'surplus population' which are the exact words taken from 'Essay on the Principle of Population', written by Thomas Malthus, and are the precise words quoted by Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol'. ...read more.

Middle

In Stave 1, Dickens portrays Scrooge as being miserly towards the poor and those who wish to do well for the poor, as is made apparent when the two 'portly gentlemen' ask Scrooge for a donation towards buying the poor some food and water for Christmas. Scrooge's response is to suggest that 'those who are badly off' should go to the Union Workhouses or jail. This reflects on the treatment of the poor at the time and the contempt Scrooge has for the poor was popular amongst well-off people at that time. In Victorian times, London was very unhygienic and full of disease. This is apparent in Dickens' writing especially in the use of the verb 'wheezing', in describing the manner in which the peasants would move up and down the court. Scrooge is in his office by a nice warm fire at this moment, this emphasizes the extent of the divide between the rich and poor of Victorian London. Dickens uses verbs like 'growled' to describe what Scrooge's feelings are at that time, which I find effective because it leaves more to the reader's imagination. ...read more.

Conclusion

Where Dickens chooses to repeat the word 'melancholy in Stave 1, in Stave 5 he chooses to repeat the word 'chuckle' which is repeated six times in the one sentence. This emphasizes the fact that Scrooge is happy and full of laughter, this shows a huge change in Scrooge's character, and helps end the novel on a high note. In 'A Christmas Carol', Dickens has acutely used language techniques to highlight the change in Scrooge and the treatment of the poor. In Stave 1, Scrooge is very miserly towards the poor, however in Stave 5 Scrooge has a complete turn around in the way that he treats the poor. This also leads to some wealthy people in the real world to change their perspective of the poor at the time. This is very important to Dickens considering that he came from a very poor family but Dickens didn't stop there, he went on to fight for free education for everyone. The moral of the novel is that everyone, rich or poor, is equal and this message still has a purpose in the world today, and will still have a purpose in years to come. ...read more.

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