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Pre 20th Century Prose- A Christmas Carol and The Signalman.

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Introduction

Gemma Quirolo Pre 20th Century Prose- A Christmas Carol and The Signalman Christmas has always been the main time of the year to tell or be told spine chilling ghost stories. Maybe it's because the celebration is in the long winter months, where most of the days are dark and gloomy. Or is it because at that time of the year every one helps and gives to one another, so there must be something/someone bad and evil in the world to balance it all out. It is a fact that one of the most famous ghost stories was told around the Christmas seasons; this story is A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens, who wrote many famous novels, wrote A Christmas Carol. . Another yuletide story is the Signalman, also written by Charles Dickens. One of Charles Dickens' closest friends, John Forster, said that Dickens loved nothing more than to tell or be told a ghost story. A Christmas Carol was written in 1843, and was published in The Pickwick Papers around the Christmas period of the very same year. When Dickens wrote this story, it was at the beginning of the Victorian era, when the celebration of Christmas was in decline. The Industrial Revolution was also in full swing during this period, leaving workers with no time or money to spend on the Christmas season. The romantic revival of Christmas traditions that occurred in Victorian times had other contributors: Prince Albert brought the German custom of decorating the Christmas tree to England, the singing of Christmas carols, which had all but disappeared at the turn of the century began to thrive again. The first Christmas card appeared in the 1840s, but it was the Christmas stories of Dickens, particularly his 1843 masterpiece A Christmas Carol, that rekindled the joy of Christmas in Britain and America. Dickens described the Christmas season as a time for giving, sharing, and loving one another. ...read more.

Middle

He doesn't really care about the people who use his business, just as long as they paid the money when it was due. Scrooge was a partner in a business firm, until his partner died. Marley, his partner, and Scrooge were not only partners, but were friends for many years. But when Marley died Scrooge "was not so dreadfully cut-up", showing he was a very hard, cold man. In A Christmas Carol you can imagine the characters from the descriptions, and you can be interested in them. There is also a clever use of temperature in this story as well, it is used to describe how harsh and cold at heart Scrooge was. It is on page 15, "the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge", this shows that even though the clerk had not much of a fire as Scrooge did, he still remained warm and gentle at heart even though the outside was cold, unlike Scrooge who was cold both inside and out. The many similes for the interactions between Scrooge and others show the bitterness of Scrooge. If Scrooge was so bitter and cold, why did Marley leave all his possessions and money to him? Was it because he had no one else to leave it to? Or because Scrooge had changed after Marley's death? Even though Marley died, Scrooge left his name above the door, and even answered to both names during business. This shows that Scrooge was so tight-fisted and clutching that he did not care about Marley, he just cared about the money. Scrooge was so unpleasant and cruel, it is hard to imagine that his nephew is so joyful, and cheery at Christmas time. Even Bob Cratchit, as poor as he was, with many mouths to feed still kept the joyous feeling of Christmas alive in his home. The third topic I am going to compare them under is the description of the place. ...read more.

Conclusion

I have found that there are many more differences than similarities between the two stories. Although they were both written by Charles Dickens to serve the same purpose, they are very much different from each other. Now that I have read and analysed both stories I am now going to say which one I liked the most, this is my final conclusion. I think that A Christmas Carol has the best settings and characters out of the two stories, but The Signalman is the most gripping. A Christmas Carol is a tale a horrible old man, who eventually learns the error of his ways, through the help of his dead partner and three other ghosts. This story is very heart warming, as you can feel for the characters, you can have empathy for them. In The Signalman it is very hard to understand the characters, and you can't really get attached to them like you can in A Christmas Carol. In The Signalman you are constantly asking questions. This makes the story gripping, and you cannot put the book down until you have found it out. In A Christmas Carol it is not as gripping, it doesn't draw you in like in The Signalman, there aren't many questions to ask about the characters, they are already answered for you. Although The Signalman has the most suspense, A Christmas Carol gives a better understanding of things, e.g. why the ghosts appeared in the first place. The story that I liked the most is A Christmas Carol. This is because it is a well-known story, and it is a classic story of bad man turned good. I also like this story because it has more of a Christmas theme to it, unlike The Signalman, which takes place down a dingy old train station. I like A Christmas Carol because you, like Charles Dickens, can get worked up during some points e.g. when he described Scrooge at the beginning, or when the ghost showed him that no one cared when he died. ...read more.

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