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How are social conditions presented and how does Dickens make this message palatable in A Christmas Carol?

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Introduction

In A Christmas Carol, how does Dickens make the reader aware of social conditions in the nineteenth century? How does he make this message palatable? Many of Dickens' novels are about social reformation and how society in the Victorian era should be more charitable Dickens had a hard childhood he was even forced to work in a shoe-polishing warehouse at his worst time, which he refused to talk about later in his life. He knew of the struggle that many of the people living in that era and wanted to make it apparent to the middle class, who were his target market, what conditions were like for the poor and how the bourgeois can help. However, he did not want to come off as preachy, and therefore finds a way to integrate his moral into A Christmas Carol without making it too explicit. The preface is to forewarn the reader that the story is not to scare them or unnerve them but simply to get his point across and establish similar ideas in their minds and for it to 'haunt them pleasantly.' Carol begins with an introduction which sets the scene and tells the reader background information about Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley which is necessary to understand that it definitely is Marley's ghost that appears to Scrooge in the next stave. ...read more.

Middle

This tells us that he was away from his family which may have resulted in him turning out that way. We learn that when's he's older and his sister comes to pick him up and take him home that his father is "kinder than he used to be" which suggests that his father was cruel to him which may offer an explanation to why he turns out to be so bitter in later life. The key memory we see is at Mr.Fezziwig's warehouse where he is hosting a Christmas party. Scrooge and his friend are apprentices of Mr.Fezziwig and after preparing for the Christmas ball they are both invited to it. This shows us that in the nineteenth century there are richer people who are also generous and kind, like Fezziwig and the two charitable gentlemen previously. This also makes the message more palatable as it good natured rich people who do make a positive impact on the poor by setting aside little time and money for them, but makes the poor 'full of gratitude.' The next scene in the past is with Belle, his young love. They were both poor, but content but Scrooge wanted more wealth. He let his desire for money overtake his fondness for Belle and therefore she leaves him and calls of the engagement. ...read more.

Conclusion

He wakes up on the next day and the sun is shining, symbolising that the light now reaches him. He is unsure of the day and asks a passing boy what day it is only to discover that it is Christmas day. He pays the boy to go to the poulterer and buy the prize turkey for the Cratchit's to replace the goose they had before. He also speaks to the "portly" gentlemen again and we presume he is donating a large sum of money for the men are greatly surprised. Scrooge then visits Fred's house and takes him up on his offer to spend Christmas with them and enjoys himself greatly. The next day when Cratchit arrives at work he is given a raise by Scrooge who now greets people on the streets with a smile. The story ends with us learning that Scrooge becomes very close to Tiny Tim and he lives on. This acts almost as a incentive for the readers to also become someone like Scrooge as they would be able to save lives and help the poor. To conclude, Dickens demonstrates that one person can change the social conditions for a family, such as the Cratchit's. The story shows that everyone can change, even the bitterest most melancholy character and that nothing is set in stone. The rich can be kind like Fezziwig and the poor can go to extreme measures like Scrooge's housekeepers. ...read more.

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