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Dear Mr Chapman & Hall, This is your faithful servant Charles Dickens, and once again I thank you for having faith in me and publishing my latest book, A Christmas Carol.

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Introduction

Dear Mr Chapman & Hall, This is your faithful servant Charles Dickens, and once again I thank you for having faith in me and publishing my latest book, A Christmas Carol. I have a feeling that this book shall be greatly appreciated and well received by the public. I will explain to you my purposes and the ways in which I have endeavoured to make it palatable and instructive. This novel is dominated by one character, Ebenezer Scrooge. The point of the story is to show how and why he changes. I have used all my talent to make him as un-likeable as I can, and this can be seen right from the beginning of the story, when I described him as, "a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone... a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!" This is when I think it suitable for my readers to really take a strong dislike to him. I have deemed it appropriate to describe Scrooge by likening him to the winter weather, as if he "carried his own temperature" while noting that no weather has any effect on him, "no warmth could heat him, no wintry weather chill him". There is no hint that this sinister figure will become the comical Scrooge of the last chapter. As a child he enjoys the pleasures of the imagination, and he is close to his sister. ...read more.

Middle

This drives home to Scrooge that he could be one of the surplus population, as could Tiny Tim or indeed any one of us. I choose to illustrate an old person to show that no one is too set in his or her ways to change, and that change is possible even late in life. This man who was shown to be a "covetous old sinner" at the beginning of the story has become "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world." Therefore we see the complete change of character that the Christmas spirit has had on Scrooge, and this forwards a message to my readers that all of us can change for the better if only we let the magic of Christmas work. The three spirits and Marley are unusual in that Scrooge listens to them. At first he resists, but he rapidly learns not to oppose them. Where Marley is grotesquely comic, the first spirit is gentle and pitying, the second hearty and authoritative, and the third silently persuasive. I deem that the last spirit is the most overwhelming and powerful, because of his silence and ominous omniscience. We are moved by Tiny Tim's courage and cheerfulness, in spite of his poverty and disability. ...read more.

Conclusion

An important symbol in A Christmas Carol appears in stave one, where Marley is weighed down by a massive chain, and tells Scrooge he has an even longer chain: it was as long as Marley's seven years ago, and he has "laboured on it since" This chain, made up of cash-boxes, padlocks, purses and business documents, represents Scrooge's achievement in life - earning money which weighs down his spirit. We understand that all the hard work and penny pinching that Marley employed during his life now haunts him during his death, and he warns Scrooge that his chain will be must greater, for he has laboured longer and at a greater pace. At the end of stave three, Scrooge sees under the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present, two children, whose names show that they are symbols: Ignorance and Want. I deem that a lack of education and extreme poverty makes it impossible for anyone to have a good life, and I have endeavoured to make this as clear as possible. Of the two, the Ghost tells Scrooge to beware the boy " most of all" because ignorance allows poverty to continue. I hope for this message to be taken in by my readers as they read this, and do something to change the social conditions in our present-day social conditions. Once again, thank you for publishing for me and I hope that my story, A Christmas Carol, may bring happiness and enlightenment on many a reader. Yours truly, Mr Charles Dickens ...read more.

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