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How Dickens uses character and setting to Explore the theme of goodness in nineteenth Century England.

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Introduction

Tracey Evans. English Coursework. How Dickens uses character and setting to Explore the theme of goodness in nineteenth Century England. 'A Christmas Carol' tells the story of a 'covetous old sinner' whose visitations from 3 ghosts force him to change his ways. Remembrance of his past, viewing the present and an insight into the future, make Scrooge realise how greedy he has been throughout his elder life and makes him want to change for the people around him. To express the theme of goodness, Dickens uses lists, similes, metaphors and alliterations to express character and contrast good with evil. In the first stave of the play, Dickens talks directly to the reader using a humorous tone. He also uses similes in order to build up our view of Scrooge's character before we come to meet him. 'Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire.' This use of language informs the reader that Scrooge is a mean and greedy person and has a great impact on how we view him. Long, multi-clause, complex sentences are used throughout the novel, which are challenging to read. Dickens also uses lists, metaphors and personification to create setting and character. ...read more.

Middle

This change in appearance tells the audience of the change of Scrooge's character. The weather was much clearer and brighter in his past; this is symbolic, linking back to his character, telling the audience that he was a much nicer person in his younger days and has grown to be greedy and mean, thus the dark weather in the present. Scrooge is rejoiced when he spots some young boys travelling towards him on horse-back. 'Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them! Why did his cold eye glisten and his heart leap up as they went past! Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other a Merry Christmas, as they parted at cross-roads and bye-ways, for their several homes!' This description, using rich words, informs us of Scrooges' reaction to the people of his childhood, painting a positive picture and showing us how he seems to have slightly changed from his wicked ways, and passion begins to touch his heart. There is also use of personification - the innocence of childhood. We learn that family was very important to Scrooge when we meet his sister. ...read more.

Conclusion

The beginning of the novel saw Scrooge working in his counting-house in 'cold, bleak, biting weather.' The weather has dramatically changed and is now described as being much brighter. 'No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh glorious. Glorious!' This is symbolic to Scrooges' character. It represents the transformation from a mean, greedy old man to a brighter, happier and nicer person. Dickens uses a string of positive similes to create Scrooge's character after he changed. 'Laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect lacoon of himself with his stocking. 'I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school boy, I am as giddy as a drunken boy.' These are all bright imagery showing his newly-formed character. Scrooge has learnt a very valuable lesson through the 3 ghosts that visited him. He has learnt to accept responsibility for the society and community around him, much like the theme of 'An Inspector Calls,' a book written by JB Priestley in 1945. Both books explore the effect of neglect upon the community around a character and teach the audience a lesson about accepting one-another and looking out for each other. ...read more.

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