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Dickens and A Christmas Carol

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Introduction

Dickens and A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens was born on 7th December 1812 in Portsmouth. His father was called John and he was a navy clerk. He was very kind hearted and unfortunately he was very often in debt. Charles was the second eldest of nine children, the family moved to Chatham from London and then back to London in 1822. Two years later Dickens was ten, he had to go and work in a blacking factory. He had to work twelve hours a day for just thirty pence a week. This was a shock to the system as Dickens had not had to experience this type of poverty before. This was a very difficult time for Dickens as conditions were terrible for him and he had to work with unpleasant people, one of whom Dickens used to model Fagin in Oliver Twist. Dickens felt helpless and sad as he was unable to utilize his talents, this period of his life gave him a real insight into what it was to be poor. Around this time Dickens' father was imprisoned in Marshalsea Prison, which was a debtors prison. Dickens lived in lodgings and would go on Sundays, with his family, to the prison to visit his father. Dickens felt abandoned and a sense of shame, de developed an understanding and sympathy for those in poverty. ...read more.

Middle

Scrooge however disagrees with this completely. He believes that it is a time that is used by the poor just to get money and receive charity. An example of spiritual poverty can be found on page 27. Here Scrooge is taken by a spirit to see himself, as a child, in his school. It is Christmas time and Scrooge was left in school instead of being with his family and friends, this shows spiritual poverty, whereby Scrooge is deprived of his family at Christmastime and therefore deprived of their love and kindness. Another example of spiritual poverty can be found on page 69. The spirit shows a vision of a Christmas yet to come, in which Scrooge has died. Nobody cared for Scrooge, because he was so cruel himself, and so members of his staff are selling his clothes. This is spiritual poverty because it demonstrates a total lack of respect for the dead in preference of financial gain. On pages 48-49, there is an example of material poverty. The Cratchits are having their Christmas dinner. It is a small, simple meal consisting of a goose, instead of a turkey, which is normally eaten by the rich, and also a small pudding. Despite this, the family were still happy and content. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is partly because he has himself experienced poverty and understands the impact that it can have on oneself. He seeks reform and in his books he has tried to highlight the issues of poverty and to point out why change was essential. This is why Dickens uses a Christmas theme in his book, hopefully to bring out the better qualities of people. Christmas being a period normally associated with kindness and goodwill to all men, he obviously hoped and believed that this would make people aware of the plight of the poor and hopefully change the attitudes of many who despised the poor and were not interested in their well-being. Many people actually profited from the exploitation of the poorer classes, particularly in the workhouses. Dickens wanted to ensure that this type of exploitation became impossible in the future, which was largely the reason why he highlighted these issues. An example of this is on page 56-57 where the spirit turns Scrooge's own words against him saying, "Are there no prisons or workhouses?" This is in reference to the Want and Ignorance children, that the spirit is showing Scrooge. The children are ragged and dirty and Scrooge is shocked to the core by their appearance and realises what he has done by ignoring the needs of the poor. Although Dickens did not really succeed in changing the lives of the poor at this time, his efforts did help to bring about improved conditions and reform from the 1870's onwards. ...read more.

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