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

What have you learnt about Victorian society from your reading of Dickenss novel A Christmas Carol?

Extracts from this document...


GCSE English Literature Coursework: "A Christmas Carol" Question: What have you learnt about Victorian society from your reading of Dickens's novel "A Christmas Carol"? Christmas is a time for happiness, family, holiday and charity. At least that is what it should be, and that's what Charles Dickens wanted it to be like. By using his novel, "A Christmas Carol", he shows the reader, through the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, what Christmas should be like and what it actually was like in the Victorian times. Dickens also educates the reader about Victorian poverty, child labour, living conditions and working conditions. Dickens's life was very complicated and full of troubles. He was born on 7th February 1812, in Portsmouth. His family had many problems, especially with money. As a result of this, they had to move around a lot and at age twelve, Dickens had to drop out of school, so he could work in a blacking factory, to help support his struggling family. This was not enough, as his father was sent to prison as he couldn't pay the rent, and his family soon followed, as they had nowhere to live. Dickens gained inspiration and influence, for his later books, and he gained respect for money, while in prison. In 1824, at age twelve, his mother died and didn't leave him a lot of money. He then went to school for two years, and became a clerk for a solicitor at age fifteen. He then became a freelance journalist at age seventeen. In 1843, he published "A Christmas Carol", with the aim of reminding people in Victorian times that they should be kinder towards each other, and share the Christmas spirit, not just at the festive period, but all year round. He also wrote the book to get across his views on Victorian society: he uses the book as a messenger to criticise Victorian society. ...read more.


He is already unhappy about paying taxes, so he would obviously not like to be asked to pay more money towards the poor. In the story, Scrooge had no feelings toward his family or friends and only had a professional relationship with them, creating a hostile feeling between them. For example, Bob Cratchit's wife did not want to toast to Scrooge at the Christmas dinner because of the way he treats Bob Cratchit. Another example of bad hostile relationships leading to no friends is Jacob Marley. A quote about Marley is that Scrooge was Marley's "sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner." This tells that if you treat everyone badly, nobody will care about you. This could be a warning for what might happen to Scrooge if he doesn't change his ways. Many people in the novel have a negative view of Scrooge because of his attitude. For example, when Scrooge has died, the thieves are able to steal Scrooge's possessions because nobody cares about Scrooge. Scrooge sees money as an important factor in life and as a result of this money influences him through most of his life. This is shown when he is talking to the Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost says that he has over eighteen-hundred brothers. Scrooge replies "A tremendous family to provide for." This shows that he is always thinking about money. The fact that he always thinks about money, results into his ex-fianc�e, Belle, breaking up with him. Scrooge's nephew, Fred, is an important character, and is a direct contrast to Scrooge. He is the perfect embodiment of Christmas spirit, unlike his uncle. On page seven, Dickens uses the nephew to outline the "perfect" vision of Christmas. According to Scrooge, the nephew "has no right to be happy", but he is still content and excited, despite the fact that he is poor. ...read more.


However, the Victorians saw the fire as a symbol of warmth and hope. On page seventy-two, the Cratchits gather around the fire on Christmas: "Then all the Cratchit family drew around the hearth." The hearth is the floor of the fireplace. This is a historical reference as today a family would not need to sit around a fireplace as most homes have central heating. Also, today a family would gather around a TV and watch it for entertainment. So the fire could be considered as a form of entertainment for the poor people of the Victorian era. In Scrooge's office, there are two fireplaces; Scrooge has the larger fireplace, while Cratchit only has the smaller fireplace - "Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal." Cratchit can't even add to his fire as "Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room." This is a representation of most Victorian workplaces: the boss would take advantage of the employee. The employee would not argue with the way things were run as he needs his job so he can support his family. From the book, "A Christmas Carol", the reader can learn quite a lot about how the Victorians lived their lives. Dickens shows the true value of Christmas, how significant money really is to living a happy life and how being nice to people can change the way people treat you. Dickens also exposed the rift that there was between the top of the class table and the bottom. The reader is also shown how money influenced people but had no affect on others and this affected workplace, employees and their employers. Throughout the story, Dickens paints a very clear picture of what life was like in Victorian society. He highlights the flaws within Victorian society that helped lead to poverty, child labour, poor living conditions and working conditions. Dickens made the most of his ability to write stories and used his skill to his advantage to produce an educational, yet interesting story. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. A Christmas Carol - Marley's Ghost.

    'You'll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?' said Scrooge. 'If quite convenient, sir.' 'It's not convenient,' said Scrooge, 'and it's not fair. If I was to stop half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill used, I'll be bound?' The clerk smiled faintly. 'And yet,' said Scrooge, 'you don't think me ill used when I pay a day's wages for no work.'

  2. What makes 'A Christmas Carol' such a Powerful and memorable story

    him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.' This is a perfect example of vivid details as you can imagine the facial expression of Scrooge and how

  1. A Christmas carol by Charles Dickens-what do we learn about the conditions of the ...

    From the above paragraph I and probably other readers (both Victorian and modern) feel as if the wording and structure takes a big effect on us. The 'ing' added at the end of most of the words which are displayed in the lists of descriptions makes us realise the amounts of faults Scrooge's personality has.

  2. The novel 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles

    Scrooge learns from this ghost, as he did with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge becomes worried when nothing appears when the clock strikes 1, but notices a red light coming from the next room. When he investigates, he finds the room is filled with food and drink and decorated for Christmas.

  1. A Christmas Carol - A picture of Victorian family life?

    He is described as the kind of person who seems to know all and see all, yet he still cannot see the world as it was, in poverty and suffering, he only wanted to see what he thought was right e.g.

  2. Consider Dickens's portrayal of Scrooge's change in attitude in a "Christmas Carol". What message ...

    He was extremely insensitive and cold-hearted he became furious when his clerk asks him for a day off on Christmas Day. He ignored his nephew when he said, "Merry Christmas Uncle" As this demonstrated he wanted everyone to be miserable at Christmas and did not allow his clerk and nephew

  1. How is the character of Scrooge developed and used in 'A Christmas Carol

    The trauma that Scrooge went through in this later part of stave one shows the average Victorian people bad thing could happen to the rich and greedy, and that they are being punished as the ghost of Marley could also have been used by Dickens, practically, to represent the sub-conscious guilt the rich feel.

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

    Scrooge also believes that people should be punished for poverty. On Christmas night, the ghost presented Scrooge with a visual allegory of two children, a girl and a boy, who were from deep poverty and described by Dickens as ?Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling and wolfish?.

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