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In 'A Christmas carol', how does Dickens make the reader aware of the conditions of the poor in the 19th century? In what ways does he make his message palatable?

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Introduction

In 'A Christmas carol', how does Dickens make the reader aware of the conditions of the poor in the 19th century? In what ways does he make his message palatable? The story of 'A Christmas Carol' is set in Charles Dickens home town of London. In the Victorian period Londoners were split in two categories, the rich and poor and the streets were filled with diseases and many poor children died at young ages. There were many big families who had small but affordable meals throughout the year, but for one day in the year they attempted to earn as much money as they could so families could have a special meal. This day was Christmas and in my essay I am going to be describing how Dickens get across the Christmas spirit people have. Dickens knew London well and he saw all the poverty on the streets and the diseases. Dickens cared immensely about poor peoples welfare and started writing his books to help people understand the hard lives poor people had to live, to earn enough money and make enough food for their families to survive. He hoped that someone would listen to what he had seen and change London to make the poor and rich an equal community. Many businessmen in Dickens lifetime were making their money from the Royal Exchange. Like them Scrooge was a very wealthy businessman who is selfish and only cares for himself. ...read more.

Middle

When the third spirit showed Scrooge that Tiny Tim would die in the future it showed how Bob was very upset but he had to look strong to keep his family from breaking down as he held the Cratchit family together. But when he said, 'I wish you could have gone. It would have done you good to see how greener place it is. But you'll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child, my little child'. He just broke down as he missed Tiny Tim so much and showed how wrecked the family would be if Tiny Tim died and how much of a strong part he plays in the family and if Scrooge keeps on treating Bob Cratchit so badly it would cause Tiny Tim not to get better and he would die. In A Christmas Carol Dickens makes his message palatable in several ways. He only described the slum area in Chapter Four but other than that he left us the job of imagining the conditions ourselves as a reader. Christmas is described as a very happy and cheerful time where everyone gets the Christmas spirit and approaches any random person, even grumpy Scrooge, to see how they are and to greet them. The poor people on the streets are always jolly when described and they are never in a discomfort or pain during the whole story. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also they had a small Christmas pudding which the family made out to be a feast for thousands of people just for them and this shows how poor they were by making such a big deal out of a small meal. 'Mrs Cratchit entered: flushed, but smiling proudly; with the pudding, like a speckled cannon ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half a quarter of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top. Oh, a wonderful pudding Bob Cratchit said'. In this book, the message Dickens tries to get across is how Scrooge changed from a mean, greedy old man who only thought about himself and through 3 spirits, the past, the present and the future he changes to a kind, generous man who has started to live a better life to be a happier person and begins to enjoy life for what it is. In conclusion, although Dickens has shown the reader many examples of conditions for the poor, he never shows any graphic pictures of their disgusting living conditions. The whole book has been written as a moral story. He shows us that money can't buy you happiness and you can still be poor and enjoy life and special celebrations. He sets the book at the time of the year when many young children were catching terrible diseases which were life threatening and ended up with a lot of deaths occurring and so the book is made more enjoyable by writing it as a ghost story. ...read more.

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