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With reference to the themes of wealth and poverty, what lessons do you think Charles Dickens wanted his audience to learn from the story of Scrooge's changing character?

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Introduction

With reference to the themes of wealth and poverty, what lessons do you think Charles Dickens wanted his audience to learn from the story of Scrooge's changing character? Charles Dickens was using 'A Christmas Carol' as an attempt to challenge his audience of rich contemporaries into action to combat the problem of the mistreatment of the poor in London at that time. Poverty at this time was rife in London. The penny-pinching, tight-fisted, upper and middle classes exploited the poor and underprivileged around them. Charles Dickens wished to change this with his novella 'A Christmas Carol'. He wished to communicate to them the problems that the poor were facing and that they should be helped and not just put in poor houses and prisons to 'decrease the surplus population'. He felt that the poor were being grossly mistreated and that his work will be able to get through to people as nothing else would. He hoped it would be widely read and would influence people especially at the time of Christmas as people tend to be kinder to their fellow human beings at that time of year. He wished to bring relief to the problems that the poor face day on day. In Stave One, we are presented with the character of Scrooge at his most miserly, the embodiment of all of the appalling qualities of the Victorian money lenders at that time. ...read more.

Middle

he rejoined. 'A golden one.'' This quote is a warning from Dickens to his audience of the dangers of becoming money-obsessed. It can drive away the people that you hold to be the most important to you and therefore this is to be avoided. This, I feel, is the beginning of Scrooge's transformation and, through the line ''Spirit,' said Scrooge, 'show me no more. Conduct me home. Why do you delight to torture me?',' Scrooge's realisation as to what he has lost. Dickens wanted to show his educated, rich audience that the pursuit of wealth was not everything in life. People should think of others, and that will bring happiness to them too. This is part of the moral message of the novella. In Stave Three Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Present. It is this journey surveying the poverty that exists around him in London which produces the greatest change in Scrooge. When he visits the Cratchits he is presented to the reader in a way which shows how much he has really changed, as he shows genuine emotion and sadness when he finds out about Tiny Tim's death. The spirit then rebukes him by bringing up his previous disregard for the poor around him by saying, ''If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,' returned the Ghost, 'will find him here. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens uses Scrooge's delight at the end compared with his despair at the beginning of the book to highlight to his audience the gains that they can make from becoming more generous and caring to the people around them. 'His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.' This quote is Dickens attempting to show his audience that although helping people may involve no monetary gains, the sheer happiness brought from helping those in need will be compensation enough. A Christmas Carol could be described by some as being too moralistic even for Dickens's audience of the educated upper classes who exploited the classes below them. This is because the character of Scrooge portrayed here is given a persona so awful to his fellows that it could not have existed in real life. Although this book was needed it was over the top in the presentation of its arguments. I, on the other hand, disagree with that argument because having a character such as Scrooge allowed the maximum amount of people to be able to identify their own character flaws with him. Some of Dickens's contemporaries lacked social conscience to such a degree that a didactic plot such as this was required to get them to notice the message of this pamphlet that Dickens wished to produce on social responsibility. I think that he was successful in producing one and gaining the attention of his desired audience. ?? ?? ?? ?? Simon Gibbons GC1 Simon Gibbons GC1 ...read more.

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