How is A Christmas Carol a critique of Victorian Society?

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Theo St John Stevens                                                12/01/10

How is A Christmas carol a critic

of Victorian society?

A Christmas carol is a critique of Victorian Society because it is expressing to the reader how there is so much wrong with Victorian Society; capitalism, lack of Christian values and greed. The book is based at Christmas time, because Christmas is meant to be a time of togetherness, love and generosity to everyone. Especially to the ones less fortunate. Dickens uses the character Scrooge to symbolise the opposite values, namely, hatred, greed and selfishness in society. Dickens is using Christmas to help readers reflect upon society and their lack of Christian values.  Dickens illustrates the selfishness of capitalism, especially in London, and the greed of the rich and how badly they treat the poor. He expresses his feelings through many characters in the story.

Dickens makes very clear his disgust for the industrial capitalism that the City of London is embraced in. The city is portrayed to be ugly and dirty because it symbolises the greed of the people who live in it, like Scrooge:  ‘Like muddy smears upon the palpable air’. So people who are born into capitalism are always bitter and follow in their father’s footsteps. In the vision of the ghost of Christmas future a child says ‘father is so much kinder than he used to be’: I think Dickens is saying that he was in the capitalistic rut but has changed.  His dislike for capitalism is portrayed in the characters because those who follow it are greedy and only want to make money. They are repulsive and disgusting, as seen in the set of merchant businessmen where their ugly features are described  ‘ a great fat man with a monstrous chin’ and a man with ‘pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose, that shook like the gill’s of a turkey-cock’. I think Dickens has made these men repulsive; almost animal-like in their features to show what greed and selfishness can do to a man. I think he is using sarcasm by saying ‘a red faced gentle-man’’ to describe, him as anything but a gentle man .                They are also selfish and state they will attend the funeral only ‘if a lunch is provided’. Even though someone has died they are still thinking about themselves and what they can get out of it for self-benefit.

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Scrooge’s selfish personality is personified with the weather, ‘The cold within 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 quote is describing Scrooge and comparing him to the weather, especially the wind and I think it is trying to make him look like the he is relentless and bitter, There is a sense of evil in it as well, like the parts about ‘grating voice’ and  ‘eyes red’.  It sounds like he is being portrayed ...

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