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Use Of Ghosts To Change Victorian Society In A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

5204 words - 21 pages

Use of Ghosts to Change Victorian Society in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

'A Christmas Carol' is a novel by Charles Dickens, written in the
Victorian era about a man named Ebenezer Scrooge. The book was written
to remind people that we should all be kinder and more generous
towards one another, and keep the spirit of Christmas all the year,
not only in the Christmas season.

Scrooge is a representation of most of Victorian society, and he is
used by Dickens as a literary device. He is described as "squeezing,
wrenching, grasping, scraping…" a reflection on the Victorians, many
of whom were selfish and did not care to help those less fortunate
than themselves. In Scrooge's own words, "Are there no prisons?"; "Are
there no workhouses?" Scrooge believed that those people who could not
afford to live independently should go to these establishments, a view
held by many Victorians. Charles Dickens recognised that this attitude
towards those in need was morally unacceptable.

'A Christmas Carol' was written in instalments which were published
monthly in a magazine. His intention was that the many readers of the
magazine would comprehend and take note of the messages he tried to
deliver in his writing. By writing the novel in instalments Dickens
managed to strike a good percentage of his target audience, who were
in particular the upper classes who could afford to buy luxury items
such as magazines.

As every reader would be reading each instalment at about the same
period, it provided a stimulus that people could unite in and discuss,
so that Dickens' ideas would be passed not only to the readers of the
magazine but also to people who have heard about the story through
other people. In this way, I believe 'A Christmas Carol' made more of
an impact on Victorian society than it would have as an entire novel.

The first thing the reader notices about 'A Christmas Carol' is the
title. It brings to mind the idea that the novel is like a song,
backed up by the way that it is split into sections called staves, and
staves are how pieces of music are split up. A carol is generally
thought to be a joyous piece of music, associated with Christmas, the
jolliest season of the year. Having the word Christmas in the title
reminds the reader of the idea of Christianity, how we should love and
be generous towards each other, as Jesus Christ was the forgiver of
all men.

The introduction of Scrooge in Stave I brings an immediate sharp
contrast between the safe feelings we get when reading the title, as
if the title portrays the whole novel as being very jolly and
seasonal, to the description of Scrooge we read initially, and we
realise at once that Scrooge is a man who least of all people knows
the meaning of Christmas. The audience is instantly intrigued as to
why a man like Scrooge...

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