The ghost of Christmas

Though you might not see the consequence instantly, it will appear in the future. This is extremely unconventional for a ghost. Likewise, Dickens uses hidden meanings to make the spectre even more irregular. He describes the tunic as, ‘the purest white’. White is associated with purity, innocence and can also be angelic. This implies that the ghost is not evil and the thought of a ghost being somewhat similar to an angel would disturb Christian families, as ghosts can be an analogy to hell. Though it surely was a controversial comment, it paid off and is one of the most imaginative quotes in the book.

The two first ghosts are extremely different from each other. In the ghost of Jacob Marley, Dickens uses conventional ghostly ideas such as being transparent and looking the same as the person they were however, the ghost of Christmas past is unusual due to the fact it is described as being like a child and wearing white. The impact on the original reader is that they begin to favour the second ghost as it’s human-like feature make it easier to associate with. The juxtaposition between the ghosts is effective because it makes the reader want to find out whether the next ghost is conventional or not.

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We soon discover that the ghost of Christmas present is unorthodox however, from the start it is obviously stranger then the second. This is displayed when Dickens writes, ‘Scrooge’s hand was on the lock’. One interpretation of this is that the ghosts have already started to change Scrooge: this would make the reader acknowledge that the ghosts are doing good which is very irregular. Another interpretation is that Scrooges courage signifies that this ghost will not be a ghost to fear and so he is willing to enter without force. This proves effective, as the reader would be alerted to the idea that this ghost is yet again nonconformist.

Furthermore, Dickens refers to Jesus to confirm the warning of the ghost being unconventional. This is shown when the spectre is said to wear a, ‘holly wreath’. This is referring the Christian belief that Jesus wore a holly wreath on the crucifix and the berries turned red with Christ’s blood. In associating a ghost with Jesus, believed to be the kindest and purest person that ever lived may not sound controversial now, however in Victorian times it would have been and might have even insulted some. This is effective as it paints a vivid picture in ones mind of what the ghost may be like.

Moreover, Dickens refers to a Greek god to allow the ghost to represent something. This occurs in the quote, ‘plenty’s horn’. This refers to the Cornucopia, whose horn would be refilled with fruit and vegetables, which would imply that the ghost represents being charitable. Dickens may also be aiming this at the wealthy middle class readers as an appeal to share their possessions. This charitable representation is furthered with a reference to St Nick, from whom Santa derived from. St Nick was very generous and the Victorians would be familiar to this character. In addition to the positive ghost, Dickens makes a peaceful statement about him.

The statement is put across when Dickens writes what he wore an, ‘antique scabbard’, but, ‘no sword was in it’. This makes the ghost seem more harmless and forces to reader to begin to warm to the idea that ghosts don’t have to be frightening. In contrast to the ghost of Christmas present, the ghost of Christmas yet to come is described as being a, ‘phantom’. This noun differs than those previously used for the ghosts as the only other word Dickens uses for them was, ‘spectre’. This warns the reader that this ghost is going to be more frightening then the previous ones and may even return to the stereotypical image of a ghost.

The phantom is also described as moving, ‘slowly, gravely and silently’. These adverbs can all be linked to death as the word, ‘slowly’, refers to the way that death can be a long and drawn-out process; ‘gravely’, pertains to a grave and, ‘silently’ relates to how death can creep up on someone. The combinations of the word, ‘phantom’, and the three adverbs can give the impression that the ghost is the grim reaper. Being the angel of death, it was believed that once you saw it; your death was imminent. The quotes successfully makes the readers feel utter most fear of the ghost and even slightly sympathetic to Scrooge.

Continuing the grave impression of the ghost, Dickens uses an implicit meaning through pathetic fallacy to tell the reader what the ghost represents. Dickens says that it was difficult to separate the ghost, ‘from the darkness in which it was surrounded’. An obscure interpretation is that the quote is a metaphor for how the ghost make everything miserable and grave in it’s presence; because the ghost is also very grave, it makes the ghost indistinguishable from its surroundings. This successfully contrasts sharply with the previous two ghosts, as they were less severe and more unconventional.

This results in the reader feeling discomforted by the return to the typical stereotype. The two final ghosts vary completely from each other. On the one hand the ghost of Christmas present is very unconventional. He represents charity and good will, which should be the meaning of Christmas. This is successful, as the Victorian readers would not expect this ghost in a ghost story however the point of the ghost wasn’t to scare the readers, but to communicate charitable values to the readers and to Scrooge. Whereas the ghost of Christmas yet to come can be seen as the most typical ghost because it carries a sorrowful ere around with itself.

This may even be more surprising than the third ghost as after two progressively unconventional ghosts; Dickens returns to the most conformist image of a ghost imaginable. In conclusion, I think that the most effective ghost is the ghost of Christmas present due to the fact that in being shockingly different from the other ghosts, its message was carried clearly and profoundly to the reader. Although an original reader may disagree with me, as the ghost was too uncommon for the time; I think that it’s outright defiance to the norm, would have alerted the reader to the ghost and would have helped put across the original meaning of Christmas.