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How do you account for the continuing popularity of 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens?

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Introduction

How do you account for the continuing popularity of 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens? We can see that 'A Christmas Carol' must be the most popular Christmas story of all time because books, films, plays and television programs have been made about it. It was written by Charles Dickens in the 19th century when two thirds of children were completely unschooled and almost half of all London funerals were for children under ten. Dickens was very interested in education and the poor at the time. He pitied the poor and also feared their potential for social destructiveness, as 'ignorance' and 'want' affected them tremendously. Dickens cleverly uses starving children as a device to show immediate symbolism of the impoverished people of the time. Being a very positive man, Charles Dickens shows that by giving education we can prevent violence, poverty and the ills associated with this. He shows this by explaining to Scrooge that he can make a change to the world, by helping the poor and exerting joy to the people around him, but unless he changes his present actions there will be desolation, "Doom, unless the writing be erased". By showing the reader this, we learn a very important lesson and we feel wiser after reading the book. Because it ends with great happiness this has a satisfying sensation on the reader. This message is very cleverly presented because it will always be a universal problem throughout the world and although it was written in the 19th century it has a very important modern idea as well. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens does not make the characters too unrealistic because he makes sure that they have two different sides to them and they do not become ridiculously overpowered with good or bad, like a ridiculous fairy tale. Scrooge has a very strong evil side, but we see his good side appearing at the end of the book. It also seems almost impossible that the Cratchits could be so happy together when the are so poor, so Dickens shows an aggressive side to Mrs Cratchit aswell, "I'd give him a piece of my mind". Charles Dickens uses very elaborate and detailed descriptions of the sights seen by Scrooge and the setting of the book to create the right atmosphere, "nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek". The lists of visible objects and huge amounts of food at 'Fezziwig's party', again, emphasise the luxurious delights available, "mince pies, and plenty of beer". In the first chapter he uses many cold, harsh adjectives to reinforce his description of Scrooge, "wrenching, grasping, clutching", and this helps to give the reader a very negative attitude towards him. This way of writing, using words which associate to the mood Dickens wants to put across, is very unusual and I think that people reading the book find this stimulating and exciting. We can vividly see the blissful festivities of Fezziwig's party because Dickens uses the idea that lots of people can enjoy themselves dancing together, "all the young men and women". ...read more.

Conclusion

A Christmas Carol is a book which contains many hidden meanings and the more it is read, the more interesting ideas we see in it. This is why people continue to create plays and films on the book, so people will understand the whole story fully and the main universal message, that we should be more charitable. There is also a lot of dramatic suspense in the book, because we ask ourselves so many questions. We want to know which aspects the spirits are going to show and how this will influence Scrooge. We hope that Tiny Tim will be able to gain strength to stay alive and we also want to know who the person in the graveyard is. All these confusing questions make the reader anticipate the ending of the book and this gives another reason for it's continuing popularity. I like the way that there are many subtle details, which highlight the main idea and further encourage me to want to change my way of life, "altered life". I enjoy the way he uses symbols and his own ideas to create an impact on the reader. For example the deprived children are a symbol showing the reader what will happen if Scrooge does not change his actions, "Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked". The "angel" and the "devil" are opposite symbols, which gives emphasis to the degraded children. I can also see that the book is very popular because Scrooge has now become a vernacular part of speech, when we say that someone may have a 'Scrooge like character'. Lucy Campbell 11B ...read more.

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