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A Christmas Carol Assignment - Charles Dickens

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Introduction

A Christmas Carol Assignment I got 24/25 for this an A* Introduction Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Hampshire, in 1812 and died in 1870. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office and family life was occasionally hard, especially when his father had to go to the debtor's prison. The young twelve year old Charles became the main money-maker in the family at this time and worked in a blocking factory. Charles' father was released a year later and Charles was able to go to school. After school he became a clerk for solicitors, later becoming a journalist, a reporter at Doctors' Commons and at 22 joined a London newspaper. He published various papers in the Monthly Magazine, following this up with sketches and articles for the Evening Chronicle. In 1836 his sketches by Boz and Pickwick Papers were published and also in this year Charles married Catherine who was the daughter of his friend George Hogarth. They had ten children, but were separated in 1858. Dickens produced several successful novels which created a Shakespearean gallery of characters and also campaigned against many of the social evils of his time. I believe Charles had many successful novels because he had lots of different experiences which provided different subjects for his novels. His novels first appeared in monthly instalments, Oliver Twist (1837-9), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1). Thereafter a great deal of his life was spent abroad. His later novels include David Copperfield (1849-50), Bleak House (1852-3), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drod (1870). In addition, he gave talks and readings and wrote many pamphlets, plays and letters. His novels have provided the basis for many successful adaptations in the theatre, in the cinema, on the radio and television. Charles wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. ...read more.

Middle

One Scrooge is happy, merry and respected, the other is moody, selfish and hated! Scrooge says Fezziwig 'has the power to..... make our service light' and give 'happiness'. Scrooge as an employer is nothing like Fezziwig. Belle left Scrooge because she realised that Scrooge loved money more than her, 'What Idol has displaced you?' 'A golden one'. Belle believes that Scrooge has changed for the worse, 'You are changed. When it was made you were another man'. She also points out that if he saw her now he would not choose a poor dowerless girl like herself but would marry a girl with a rich background. Dickens includes the scene showing Belle with her husband to show Scrooge how happy he could have been if he had not been so obsessed with money. Also this shows the reader that Scrooge could have had a happy life, but he gave it all away for money. Overall Scrooge learns from the Ghost of Christmas Past that his Christmases were not always spent alone, some were happily spent with others, but in not marrying Belle he denied himself a happy life. Stave 3 The ghost of Christmas Present is described as a 'jolly giant', and 'glorious to see'. Once again light is included 'a glowing torch' 'sparkling eye'. Scrooge's 'new' room is supposed to show Scrooge what his room could be like if he was merry and joyful. Scrooge comments that he had learnt from the last ghost 'I went forth last night on compulsion and I learnt a lesson.' Scrooge thinks that he will be taught by this ghost too. 'Tonight if you ought to teach me, let me profit by it'. The ghost has two supernatural powers since it can fly and have the power to make people merry. The ghost makes people merry by using his torch. It 'sheds a few drops of water on them' and 'good humour is restored directly'. The Cratchits are poor but they make do with what they have. ...read more.

Conclusion

Scrooge's meanness and cold-heartedness seem to be contagious as it is shown by other characters in the book, such as Mrs Dilber and the insincere businessmen who go to Scrooge's funeral just for the food. In addition Dickens shows the contrasts between those who are better off, such as Fred's family to the Cratchit's. The portly gentlemen do make some effort to help the needy beyond the prisons and workhouses, which clearly do not offer enough. For instance, there is great need in Cratchit's family and Tiny Tim is in danger of dying. Dickens is trying to encourage the reader to think about how they treat others and whether they resemble Scrooge's awful treatment and neglect. Scrooge promises to keep Christmas 'all the year' and makes it clear that it is not enough to make things better at Christmas time only. The novel has stayed popular because it relates to Christmas, a time of celebration and holiday for all, and a time when everyone is likely to think of enjoying themselves with family and friends. There have been many different versions in cartoon, cinema and television which have promoted its popularity. It is well written with lots of great and memorable characters which the reader can relate to. To call someone a 'Scrooge' is now instantly recognizable as someone who is mean. In addition the idea of Scrooge being visited by Marley and three spirits is very imaginative and appeals to the reader's natural curiosity of the unknown. In conclusion, the novel carries a powerful message. It shows us that Christmas is not just about opening presents, but is about being with family and friends who love us and having a jolly time with them. Children today only seem to worry about what they get for Christmas and perhaps Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' still has a valuable message for us all. Finally, there is a clear resemblance between the deformed children 'Ignorance' and 'Want' and the starving children which are shown on Oxfam advertisements. Overall this novel clearly has relevance to today's society. 1 ...read more.

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