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Dickens Presentation of the four Spirits in 'A Christmas Carol'

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Introduction

11 January 2000 Dickens Presentation of the four Spirits in 'A Christmas Carol' In 'A Christmas Carol' four spirits meet Scrooge and they haunt and warn him of how he disregards Christmas and how people look upon him. Dickens uses his own unique writing skills in portraying the spirits, making the appearance relevant to the purpose of the each spirit. The first supernatural being to visit Scrooge is the ghost of Jacob Marley - Scrooge's deceased working partner. The appearance of this spirit is directly similar to what Marley wore in his first life when he was a slave to money - exactly like Scrooge. These same working clothes show how he is still chained down by the burden of money and that his afterlife has been made rather painful by being a slave to work. Marley's ghost is warning Scrooge that if he doesn't change his character, he will too be burdened in his afterlife. The spirit also foretells the appearance of three more ghosts. The chains 'clasped about his middle' and all the different items that are wrought to the chain all symbolize money and greed of the spirit. The cash-boxes and the keys all represent the hiding away of money and keeping the wealth to themselves and not sharing the abundance of money. ...read more.

Middle

and the changes vary so much that at one point the spirit has no head. This unusual distinction, I feel, represent the change in emotions and I think Dickens is trying to portray the alterations of Scrooges past and of all the feelings and events that changed him in to a tight-fisted businessman. The ghost of Christmas present is a bit simpler to understand for he represents the things and spirit of Christmas. His purpose is to show Scrooge the way people celebrate Christmas at present and to point out the abundance of Christmas joy there is in families, which is alien to Scrooge. The spirit is introduced with a large range of different Christmas foods such as long plum-puddings, mince pies, 'cherry-cheeked apples' and 'immense twelfth cakes', just to mention a few of the items layering the floor. The abundance and feeling of plenty is conveyed with the magnificent quantities of tangible items on display, with the 'barrels of oysters' and 'wreaths of sausages'. Dickens eloquently describes the food making the reader feel tempted by these appetizing descriptions. All this is completely foreign to Scrooge. He has never seen this type of thing for he never shares his money to make these things happen, therefore this is appropriate so to open Scrooge's eyes to the celebration of Christmas. ...read more.

Conclusion

As well as not being able to see all the parts of the ghoul, the spirit does not even talk which makes him even more fearful for it is impossible for Scrooge to communicate to this haunting phantom. Scrooge is desperate for the ghoul to utter a word but Dickens purposely does not let the figure talk for it adds to his mysterious and chilling demeanor. This spirit is one which people dread, it is of an appearance of a phantom which chills the surrounding air which others choke on in fear. The description continues, with Dickens using metaphorical speech to describe the ghoul: 'but a spectral hand and one great heap of black'. The effect of the metaphor is once more of absolute fear and terror. The description ends with Scrooge requesting speech from the ghoul but it is not going to respond which rounds off the passage with a feeling of fear. Dickens shows skill in describing these ghosts so relevantly to what there immediate purpose is. Each ghost has its own specific meaning and Dickens presents this effectively giving each spirit a unique appearance which tells a story with a true moral which still applies today. Dickens is a storyteller with unique gifts and this is shown in these descriptions of the four spirits. ...read more.

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