Dickens is a writer whose work reflected the concerns of the society in which he lived. What are those concerns and how does he convey them to the reader of A Christmas Carol? ‘A Christmas Carol’ was written in 1843 by Charles Dickens. Dickens was appalled when he visited the Field Lane Ragged School, in which Dickens couldn’t believe how awful the conditions were. The children there were poor, starving and near death and Dickens decided he needed to do something about it.
At first Dickens thought of writing a pamphlet to appeal to the people of England, and tell them this atrocity needs to be stopped. However he realised that it would have more effect if he wrote a novel instead, because Dickens was a very successful and admired author and had already written works that included Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop. The novel meant more people would read it and take notice. Dickens based a lot of his novels on his own experiences in his life and this including the time when his father was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was forced to work in a blacking factory.
Dickens found this a reprehensible experience and it inspired much of his later fiction such as one of his most recognized books – Oliver Twist. Dickens was always interested in the current social problems and was known as a reformer, namely someone who endeavoured to change society for the better. Examples include his novel ‘Bleak House’ which investigated and criticised the legal system at the time and also ‘Hard Times’ which concerned itself with the poor education being given to the nations children.
This society in Dickens’ time, in which he tried so hard to change, was an unfair time where the world was enjoyed by the rich and suffered by the poor. Dickens could have relaxed and not bothered about the class below him yet he showed admirable honour and nobility in his pursuit for his quest for fairer life and this is perhaps why is regarded as one of the worlds greatest authors today. Dickens had very strong ideas about Christmas and deliberately set his story at Christmas so he could try to achieve one of his biggest ambitions – to show the importance of Christmas time.
He was one of a group of writers who aspired to renew the old Christmas and show it is a time for being with your family, helping each other and remembering the past and thinking about the future, currently families were split up between city and countryside and this, as Dickens saw it, was not right. This is why in ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens has the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and the he included the Cratchit family, who have to work very hard yet still manage to be together at Christmas.
Dickens also wanted to emphasise that Christmas was not just about wealth and this is why his main character is the cold Ebenezer Scrooge. Charles Dickens uses many techniques in ‘A Christmas Carol’ to describe how evil, nasty and cold-hearted Scrooge is. He used similes to describe Scrooges character such as “Hard and sharp as flint” which means Scrooge is hard-hearted and insensitive to human feelings. This is reflected in the way Scrooge is so harsh and cruel to his clerk Bob Cratchit to whom he refuses to let have days off or leave early.
Scrooge is also “Solitary as an Oyster” meaning he is alone, hard to reach, single, difficult, distant and does not have any friends. Furthermore Scrooge is also “frosty” – he is cold, hostile and unfriendly, “wiry” – Scrooge is unpleasant, sharp and stubborn and finally “self-contained” demonstrating that he feels he doesn’t need anyone in life. Dickens really emphasises the cold manner Scrooge has and his icy heart. Even the weather is compared with him; the weather at the time is bitter, horrible, and unpleasant but Scrooge is worse.
“No wind that blew was bitterer than he” illustrating Scrooge is his own type of weather and “no warmth could warm him nor wintry weather could chill him”. In this way Dickens indicates Scrooge is a nasty, mean, bitter character and promptly the audience observe this and dislike this creature. Scrooge is greedy and desires money and wealth. He is “covetous” meaning he is possessive about money. Scrooge loves wealth and desires more and more. He gets envious of others who own more money. Scrooge also hates the poor and believes they are idle.