Dickens' Presentation of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
The novel 'A Christmas Carol', by Charles Dickens was written in 1843
and reflects poverty in Victorian times where poverty and ill health
was very common. The book was published a week before Christmas and
was presented in a small gold and crimson book - the perfect Christmas
gift. Dickens wishes to use the character of scrooge to make the
reader see that being selfish and cold hearted gets you nowhere and
encourages everybody to be generous and loving. The novel is about a
cold and mean hearted man called Ebenezer Scrooge who runs a business.
Scrooge is very tight fisted and one Christmas is visited by the ghost
of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. The spirit shows him how
he is now, and how he will become as he grows older. There are 4
ghosts that show him his past, present and future. When visited by the
spirits, he is given a chance to change. He turns from a mean old man
to a generous one, to the delight of his family and new found friends.
Dickens uses many devices to introduce Scrooge's character, such as
similes, metaphors and comparisons to the weather. The presentation
that Dickens gave of Scrooge was so clear that "Scrooge" is still used
in language today, having the meaning of someone who is tight with
money, cold hearted and who hates Christmas. I will be examining these
points in my essay.
Victorian London was a very difficult time to live in. If you were
poor, then you had virtually no hope of becoming someone of any
wealth. Rich people didn't care for the poor and needy, and kept
themselves to themselves. Poverty was a big issue in Victorian times
and the poor were mainly the ones to suffer from sickness and ill
health. Schooling in Victorian times was only for people with money,
which meant that poor people had no chance at a future. They were
forced into working long hours in bad conditions. Dickens realised the
problems in this, and the fact both groups, poor and rich, kept apart.
He draws attention to the problems of Victorian times with this book,
and uses the current times as a focus of his story.
Even at the beginning of 'A Christmas Carol' Scrooge's character shows
itself strongly. Dickens describes Scrooge as a "tight fisted hand at
the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping,
clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no
steel had ever struck out generous fire". These few lines are direct
and tell us that Scrooge is tight-fisted and, as the word "covetous"
means, greedy for wealth. It is obvious what kind of person Scrooge is
by the description of him, but to make sure we know, Dickens gives us
a physical one too. He says that "the cold within him froze his old
features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his