• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent does Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' fit into the Genre of the Supernatural Story, and how does Dickens use it as a vehicle for his social views?

Extracts from this document...


To What Extent does Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' fit into the Genre of the Supernatural Story, and how does Dickens use it as a vehicle for his social views? The supernatural story has a long history as a popular literary work. Many people enjoy them even today. The original supernatural stories would have been told by a storyteller in villages when many people had little or no understanding of the ways of the world. Many people would have been illiterate so the stories would be passed down through the generations. When Shakespeare was writing in the 16th and 17th century people believed that the witches in Macbeth were real so people feared them. By the time Dickens was writing in the 19th century people didn't believe that witches and other beings created to explain the unexplainable existed. The supernatural story had changed a lot by Victorian times to be more psychological than literally and tended to play on the fears of the reader. This was because science had explained many phenomenans but, even today; debates still take place over the existence of spirits and other supernatural beings, even today science cannot fully explain the truth about ghosts. P.J. Stead wrote in his book 'Supernatural': "The oldest and best supernatural stories are to be found in the great mirrors of popular imagination - in the Arabian Nights, in the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm and in the old ballads." That quote can also be found in Cassell's Encyclopaedia of Literature edited by S.H. Steinberg. It links with 'A Christmas Carol' because when the spirit of the past takes Scrooge to his school days he is reading the Arabian Nights. The same man, P.J. Stead, also wrote of supernatural stories that they include: "The return of the dead to intervene in mortal affairs, the presence of spirits of the earth and air. The casting and raising of spells." ...read more.


Scrooge is then taken to his first and last love, Belle. Scrooge fell in love with her when they were both poor but Scrooge became greedy and fanatic about money. At this point she let him go: "'It matters little,' she said softly. ' To you, very little. Another idol has displaced me; and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come, as I would have tried to do, I have no just cause to grieve.' 'What idol has displaced you?' he rejoined. 'A golden one.' " This tells us that Scrooge has moved his love from Belle to money. Scrooge is then taken back to his bedroom where he awaits the second spirit. Scrooge is greeted by the Spirit of Christmas present who takes him on a journey around London. The spirit is a large, jolly ghost. The room has to be resized to fit him. He wears a simple green robe and has kind clear eyes. This spirit is intimidating. The ghost does not wear shoes but has a holly wreath around his head. He has dark brown hair, which is curly, and is one of 1800, at least. The spirit shows him the streets of London at Christmas this year and also takes him on a flight. The first place of significance that is visited is the home of Scrooge's copy clerk, Bob Cratchitt. His family are preparing Christmas dinner and Bob is out with their crippled son Tiny Tim. The family are poor so cannot afford a big Christmas dinner but they talk about it as though it is a feast fit for kings. From the sight of Tiny Tim Scrooge feels bad about Bob's salary. Bob is paid 15 bob a week which today works out at �0.75. After their dinner they make a toast to Mr. Scrooge. Scrooge asks the spirit about Tiny Tim with which the spirit replies "I see a vacant seat. In the chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved." ...read more.


In 'A Christmas Carol' not only does the protagonist, Scrooge, not believe in the paranormal but he does not believe in anything but being rich. This is why he is visited by the paranormal world. The language that Dickens has used seems to be the language of the period although some language from this particular genre can also be found. Many of the sentences in the book have a feel for the supernatural and of his own views, especially when talking about the poor: "The spirit smiled, and stopped to bless Bob Cratchitt's dwelling with a sprinkling from his torch. Think of that! Bob had but fifteen 'Bob' a-week himself; he pocketed on Saturdays but fifteen copies of his Christian name; and yet the Ghost of Christmas Present blessed his four-roomed house!" That sentence has mainly the language of the period but it also has a little bit of supernatural language. This just goes to show Dickens' views once again. He is writing as though it is shocking for some one to bless a poor persons little four-roomed house. Therefore 'A Christmas Carol' is a perfect supernatural story and acts as a vehicle for Dickens' views, but rather than it being a large vehicle of his views, like a social problem novel, it is a small vehicle which only has room for a small amount of his social views whereas other Dickens novels such as 'Great Expectations', 'Oliver Twist', 'Nicholas Nickleby' and 'Hard Times' fit into the social problem genre better than 'A Christmas Carol' does. Having said that 'A Christmas Carol' still gets the message across about the Victorian people's anti-social and idiotic views about the poor and how they need to be changed. 'A Christmas Carol' also gets the message across to a wider audience which means that more people realise that their views about the poor are wrong and that it really isn't their own fault if they are poor. This is where 'A Christmas Carol' really becomes a vehicle for Dickens' social views because it transports the views to people that wouldn't normally read a social problem novel. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE A Christmas Carol section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE A Christmas Carol essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    English Lit How Does Charles Dickens Use Imagery and Language to Present the Character ...

    4 star(s)

    A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.' This quotation shows that Dickens described Scrooge as being tight-fisted, suggesting that he is not generous and not willing to part with his money.

  2. Consider how Dickens creates a scary atmosphere in this novel A Christmas Carol

    This type of ghost would still be scary today, as frightening spirits such as poltergeists have become more known to people today. This type of spirit can be very daunting especially for younger people. In the first of Three Spirits, Dickens describes this ghost as being "a strange figure" by using language like this it creates a daunting atmosphere.

  1. How Does Dickens Portray Poverty In A Christmas Carol.

    Dickens intrudes here to put across the Christian point of Christmas that Jesus watches and judges us all. Bob finds wealth in his family unlike Scrooge. The Cratchits sit and eat their Christmas meal, Nobody comments on the size of it they just enjoy what Bobs little money has provided them with.

  2. Explore how Dickens makes his readers aware of poverty in A Christmas Carol.

    Dickens is trying to get across here the message of poverty and how the appearance of poverty stricken children may be. Ragged schools were free schools often set up by philanthropists. The intention was for them to provide religious instruction and basic education for the poorest children.

  1. How does Dickens use atmosphere and suspense to convey his moral message in 'A ...

    Here he is aiming to imply that you will regret not giving money and love to the more unfortunate than you, even if you don't feel that way at the time.

  2. The Three Spirits in A Christmas Carol present the reader with a great variety ...

    The chapter has a strange ending. The spirit ages and shrinks as midnight draws near and then suddenly Scrooge sees two dirty children under the Ghost's robe. The Ghost tells him they are nothing but 'mans' and that 'the boy is Ignorance and the girl is Want'. Scrooge is told to beware of both of them.

  1. How does Stave 3 of A Christmas Carol illustrate Dickens concerns about social issues?

    Dickens is very effective in describing the conditions in which his characters lived. For example, a lot of the time he uses triplets. 'It was cold, bleak, biting weather' (Page 35). Here, Dickens uses the triplets to describe the weather because it emphasizes each of the adjectives more, making the passage more vivid.

  2. An essay on A Christmas Carol. I will discuss how Dickens uses different language ...

    Dickens? uses the charity men to get his personal view of poverty across to the reader and also to show that not all Victorians were selfish. However, Scrooge act as if he is careless, annoyed and doesn?t want to give to charity.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work