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How does Charles Dickens try to encourage his readers to alter their moral and social conscience towards the poor through Scrooge's experiences?

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Introduction

How does Charles Dickens try to encourage his readers to alter their moral and social conscience towards the poor through Scrooge's experiences? "A Christmas Carol" is about how Ebenezer Scrooge changes from being greedy, selfish and only caring about himself to being charitable and caring towards others, especially the poor. The point of the story is to show how and why Scrooge changes. It is also telling people that if someone like Scrooge can change, then anyone can change. The new Scrooge is meant to be setting an example to the reader. In showing how Scrooge changes, Dickens is also trying to encourage the reader to change their opinions and the way they treat the poor. This is done through the experiences of Scrooge when he is visited by three spirits who show him why he needs to change. The book is structured into five staves. The first stave set the scene. It tells us what Scrooge is like and includes a visit from Marley's ghost. The second, third and fourth staves are when the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future come and visit Scrooge to try and make him change. The fifth stave shows how Scrooge has changed and what he does to make amends. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 in Portsmouth. His childhood was very unhappy due to his father's debt problems. When his parents were sent to debtors' prison, Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory at the young age of twelve. He hated his time working in the factory. In "A Christmas Carol" when he writes about life of the poor he is often referring back to his own experiences of childhood. ...read more.

Middle

The language used intrigues and interests the reader because it is unusual for something to be young and old, wise and child like at the same time. The ghost is portrayed like this because it is created from both Scrooge's youth and old age. The Ghost of Christmas Past is brought to Scrooge in order for him to realise what his life used to be like. Scrooge is reminded of the good things in life when he sees himself as a boy. However, although Scrooge had some good times, even as a young boy he was left out and rejected by his friends. This makes the reader feel sorry for Scrooge as a boy as they begin to understand why Scrooge isolates himself from society. It is different from our previous feelings towards Scrooge because at the beginning of the book we had no sympathy for him. After Scrooge saw what he was like as a boy, the reader can tell that it moved Scrooge by his reactions to it. At first he pitied his former self by saying "Poor boy!" He then already begins to regret things he has recently done. For example, Scrooge says "There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something". This shows the reader that Scrooge starts to realise that he needs to change. In writing about how Scrooge now wants to give to others, Dickens is trying to change the attitudes of the reader to be more generous towards their fellow human beings. The ghost then shows Scrooge himself when he was older and working as an apprentice for his employer called Fezziwig. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens also shows the way in which Scrooge has become a lot happier from helping other people. Dickens does this to change the elitist beliefs of the Victorian people that everyone is an island and you only take care of yourself. Dickens wants them to have the socialist belief that we are responsible for the community around us. Dickens makes the Victorians think that if they help others around them then they will become happy like Scrooge is at the end of the book. The message Dickens is giving the reader is that he is telling us to be the same as Scrooge is at the end of the book. For example, towards the end of the book it says, "May that be truly said of us, and all of us!" This quote is referring to Scrooge's actions in the last stave as it tells us to act in the same way as Scrooge. In conclusion, in writing the book "A Christmas Carol", through Scrooge's experiences, Dickens has encouraged his readers to alter their moral and social conscience towards the poor to become more charitable and caring. Dickens has ensured that this story has a strong impact on his readers by making the character Scrooge change from one extreme of being mean and stingy with money to the other extreme where he is charitable and kind. When Scrooge goes through his experiences the reader also feels the same experiences. At the end of the book when Scrooge is happy and becomes very generous towards the poor, the reader also wants to be generous towards the poor. Dickens is so effective in creating a strong impact on the reader in the book that "A Christmas Carol" is still popular today. Katie Walters 10MS Page 1 ...read more.

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