English Lit How Does Charles Dickens Use Imagery and Language to Present the Character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Stave 1 of 'A Christmas Carol.'?

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GCSE English Literature Coursework

How Does Charles Dickens Use Imagery and Language to Present the Character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Stave 1 of ‘A Christmas Carol.’?

GCSE English Literature Coursework

How Does Charles Dickens Use Imagery and Language to Present the Character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Stave 1 of ‘A Christmas Carol.’?

Charles Dickens’ novella ‘The Christmas Carol’ is based around the miserly character of Ebenezer Scrooge living in Victorian England. Within ‘A Christmas Carol Dickens presents himself as an omniscient narrator throughout the book, an omniscient narrator is an all-knowing narrator. Scrooge is a misanthropic business man who is overwhelmed by wealth and greed. The novella ‘A Christmas Carol’ was written in 1843 and is set in Victorian England, there was a great deal of poverty in England at the time. As a child Dickens witnessed the plight of the poor and his experiences were suggested in his writing. Life in Victorian times was extremely difficult for poor families and young children, Dickens had some experience of poverty when he was very young and he reflects these experiences in his pieces of writing; the Cratchits reflect his experiences of poverty. When Dickens was 12 years old his whole family was put into prison for being in debt, the young Dickens was sent off to a factory to work at the young age of 12. Christmas  in the Victorian times were quite similar to this present day , the Victorians invented Christmas traditions that are still used today; such as Christmas trees, cards and carol singing, without the Victorians these traditions would not exist today.  Ebenezer Scrooge is an example of the cruelty and ignorance of the people of Victorian England.

The main character in ‘A Christmas Carol’ is Ebenezer Scrooge, Dickens portrays Scrooge to be a pessimistic miser throughout the story, but however he does begin to change his views near to the end of the novella. In the first stave Dickens introduces Scrooge and his dead business partner Jacob Marley, in the beginning of the book it is very important to point out that Jacob Marley is dead, to help make the reader believe that he is dead, as he later on appears as a ghost in the story;

‘Old Marley was as dead as a doornail’

Dickens makes a strong point at the start of the story that Jacob Marley is dead; Dickens uses similes to portray this. It shows that Scrooge’s character is such that he is unmoved by the death of a very close friend and a business partner.

During the opening pages of the novella, Dickens describes Scrooges’ physical appearance using the technique pathetic fallacy; pathetic fallacy is when a writer uses the weather to describe human emotions:

‘The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek…’

This quotation shows the technique of pathetic fallacy being used to describe Scrooges’ physical appearance; he has a cold external appearance indicating that he is a cold hearted man that does nothing to help society. ‘The cold froze his features’; Dickens is trying to portray to the reader that scrooge has a hard cold external appearance, Dickens is also trying to show that scrooge is unnatural, unemotional and that in a way he has been poisoned by the cold. We see further evidence of this as the passage goes on;

‘(Scrooge)…stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue…A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin’.

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This quotation implies that Scrooge has an extremely frosty and cold era about him at all times, as Dickens describes Scrooges’ lips ‘blue’, and a ‘frosty rime on his head’, the reader would get an acknowledgement of Scrooge’s appearance from the emotive language Dickens uses.

There is further evidence of Scrooge being a cold hearted person, ‘made his eyes red’ this is indicating that the cold made his eyes turn red, this portrays to a reader that Scrooge is a devilish character and has the features of a devilish nature. The language in this passage portrays Scrooge to be ...

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Scrooge is analysed in detail in this essay and there is a clear understanding of his character. At times points are repeated and sometimes a bit vague; it would have been possible to produce a more concise piece that would have been just as effective. A very focused title provided a good opportunity to look specifically at Dickens' language choices and at times these choices could have been explored in more depth and the exact language devices could have been identified and their effects considered.