The novel “A Christmas Carol”, written by Charles Dickens, was first published in 1843, as a serialisation, a main reason for the staved structure of the book. This book has been, and is still now such a ‘classic’ because of its obvious messages, which are accessible by all people, Dickens was trying to spread the word of good will and general Christmas spirit to everyone, and let us know that everybody has a chance to change their ways no matter how old, mean or unlikely they may seem. And this message in particular holds relevance for us today and stands also as a firm moral point to the book.
The magazine that the story was published in was read widely throughout the middle and upper classes of Victorian London. At this time there was a very large class divide within London and the poor were often neglected or overlooked by the higher classes. Dickens, as can be seen by his other books, for example “Bleak House” or “Great Expectations” was very taken with observing the lives of the less fortuitous and then projecting them within his stories, so that others could observe as well.
This is particularly relevant within “A Christmas Carol” because, although exaggerated, Dickens’ characterisation of Scrooge can be seen to represent the views of the upper classes at this time, and as he changes his views on the poor and has revelations on how he is leading his life, it encourages the reader to look at themselves as well. And so shows Dickens strong views that the poor were being mistreated.
Before Dickens describes Scrooges to us he explains how he and Marley were partners and uses the word “sole” six times within a paragraph, this use of repetition is used to portray to us, right from the start, that Scrooge is a very solitary character. After this, the first real description of Scrooge comes where he is described as “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scarping, clutching, covetous, old sinner. ” The use of these seven adjectives one after another is very powerful and gives the reader a clear image of the character that Dickens is creating.
He then continues to describe to us Scrooge’s character by using “the cold within him froze his old features” showing that although it is very cold weather, this has no effect on him and it is, in fact his cold heartedness that freezes him. Dickens then goes on to compare Scrooge to flint and its many qualities using similes. We have already been given, from this small amount of text, a great deal of information about the character. This is because of Dickens’s use of language, for example the repetition and the poetic comparisons such as similes and metaphors that allow us to vividly imagine the character that Dickens has created.
Dickens uses several other language techniques such as humour, dialogue, irony, structure and imagery. These techniques are used throughout the novel. A good example of such a technique is when Dickens uses both personification and humour when describing the house that Scrooge lives in. “They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again.
” This is funny because the idea that it lost its way refers also to the main storyline of Scrooge not being a bad person to start with but becoming that person due to several uncontrollable factors. Later on in the first stave, his nephew who loves Christmas and is a kind person, meets Scrooge. We know he is a good person because of the comparisons made between him and Scrooge. For example, Scrooge is shown to be a cold person, whereas Fred is shown as warm “he was all in a glow”.
Also in dialogue between the two Dickens shows us that although Scrooge says from the start that Christmas is a “humbug”, Fred still continues to be cheerful and even invites his uncle to dinner. Dickens then uses repetition in the dialogue where Fred is still talking to Scrooge and Scrooge answers with “good afternoon” three times to try and get rid of his nephew. This shows the reader how mean Scrooge is, and how he is unwilling to listen or be kind, and it also shows how Fred cares for Scrooge or he would not bother to be so kind to him all the time.