May 17 th 2017
How Scrooge’s character develops the theme in A Christmas Carol
Stage 1. In the novella A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Scrooge’s character is developed through symbolism in order to create a theme about redemption. Stage 2. Through the development of Scrooge’s character, the theme expresses greedy and selfish people are still capable of redeeming themselves. Three examples of symbolism which develop Scrooge’s character are as follows: the chain of Marley’s ghost, the children Want and Ignorance, and the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Stage 3a. During the first stave of the novella, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. After overcoming the initial shock of his presence, Scrooge notices Marley is bearing a lengthy and heavy chain made of “cashboxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds…” (11.) In reference to the chain, Marley says, “I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” (13). Stage 4a. Marley’s chain, composed of the materialistic values he held in life, is representing the consequences of the choices he made while alive. Due to his preoccupation with money and his greed, Marley was indifferent to the plight of others and therefore did not fulfill his duty to mankind. As a result, in death he is shackled by the shallow values that blinded him in life, facing the consequences of his actions. At the same time, to truly comprehend the significance of the chain for Scrooge’s character and to the theme, it must be understood that the reason Marley appeared that night was to warn Scrooge he was heading towards the same fate, based on his current behaviour. Thus, Dickens establishes that Scrooge is alike to the person Marley was in life; greedy, selfish and concerned only with money. Furthermore, setting Scrooge as such a greedy and horrid character allows for the theme to set its foundation. Hence, by the end of the novella, it is proven that even greedy and selfish people are nonetheless capable of redeeming themselves. Stage 3b. Scrooge’s journey to redemption continues in the third stave where Scrooge observes poor Tiny Tim and later, two “yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolf-ish” (49.) children clinging to the Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge asks about them and is replied with, “They are Man’s. . . This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both … but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” (49.) Scrooge cries out with a question asking whether there is no refuge or resource for the children, and is replied with his own words from the Ghost a second time, “Are there no prisons? … Are there no workhouses?” (50.) Scrooge, trembling, cast his eyes to the ground at this rebuke. Stage 4b. Above else, the symbolism in this passage is very clearly expressed. Most simply put, Ignorance and Want...