Christmas is a time of thanks giving and happiness. The religious significance of Christmas is birth, life and death and so should be celebrated by thanking for what they have got. At Christmas people give presents and have a service in church but in Victorian England things were very different to these days because back then food and presents were only given because of some people’s generosity. Dickens is saying through the character of Scrooge that Christmas is a time of spending time with the family but in the modern days people are very capitalist and worry about how much profit they make rather then spending time with the family.
Christmas is a time of giving and being generous but Charles Dickens explores the 19th century by showing the poverty and that there were no benefits for the poor so if you didn’t work you didn’t get. Today life is very different because benefits are available and other welfare schemes to help the poor. In the 19th century the Industrial Revolution took place so more money came into the economy but the poor were still left hungry, without shelter but the rich got richer.
In A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens is criticizing the rich who do not treat the poor well by showing that the rich cannot live apart from society because everyone plays their part and that respect is very important. Dickens shows this through Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas future when no one will care when you die. Dickens moral message in the novel is that everyone should respect each other whether poor or rich. Dickens expresses his criticism of the lack of the welfare system through the words of Scrooge by showing that the rich were very rich and the poor very poor and the only way through it was to work at the work house.
However the work house was seen a shameful place to work at, therefore many of the poor people would rather make a living begging. Dickens shows this egocentricity of the rich through words of Scrooge when Scrooge says to the Charity collectors: ‘If they would rather die….. they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. ‘ This shows that scrooge believes that it is the poor people’s responsibility to live for them selves even if they are feeble and unable to work. When scrooge says ‘decrease the surplus population,’ this emphasises that Scrooge is very selfish and doesn’t care for people as long as he gets what he wants.
Therefore Dickens is emphasising through the character of Scrooge that some rich people would rather see humans die just because they believe that it would help the environment, such as in this situation scrooge wouldn’t have a care in the world if he saw poor people die, however would see it as a benefit to him. Scrooge shows us that some rich people were very miserly and didn’t care for the poor, even those who worked for them. Scrooge is a very closed and selfish person even though he has got more than enough of wealth. This is shown when: ‘Oh! but tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge!
A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! ‘ This quote shows that scrooge is very stingy and tries to get every thing out of Bob Cratchit. The verbs used here demonstrate that he is very mean and self centred man who doesn’t care for others as long as he can grab of everything he can get hold of. Scrooge is a very penny-pinching man even though he is rich because at his house when he sees Bob Marley’s ghost he is sitting in the dark because he doesn’t want to get no candles because he has to pay for them. This is proven by: ‘Darkness is cheap and Scrooge likes it’
Ironically this quote also suggests that Scrooge is happy being ignorant of the suffering of those so needy in society. It is the word ‘darkness’ that also suggests that Scrooge lives in a very ugly manner and deprives the needy away from him so he doesn’t have to give anything. It is very common for the rich people to say that they don’t need anyone including God. This shows that these people can do anything with there money and would go pretty far to get as much as they could. Dickens clearly criticizes this of the rich people in Victorian times through the character of Scrooge.
This is shown when Scrooge says: “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should! ” This quote shows that Scrooge is saying that Christmas is worse than any normal day because presents have to be given and money has to be spent. This shows that some of the rich people in Victorian times didn’t like spending their wealth on other people. Therefore Christmas would be a problem to them especially to their businesses because the workers would want a day or two off and a pay rise because it’s Christmas.
Scrooge was brought up in a cruel and emotional manner. Scrooge was educated at a boarding school were life was very difficult for him. This is shown by; ‘The school is not quiet deserted,’ said the Ghost. ‘A solitary child, neglected by his friends, is left there still. ‘ Scrooge said he knew it. And he sobbed. ‘ This quote clearly shows that Scrooge was unfairly treated at school and didn’t have anyone to help; this is probably why he doesn’t trust anyone now and treats others of how he was once treated. It wasn’t just Scrooge’s school life which was terrifying but also his home life.
Scrooge’s dad didn’t care for him and did not allow Scrooge to return home from boarding school for Christmas. The words ‘solitary’ and ‘deserted’ epitomise the sad and lonely upbringing Scrooge endured. It could be argued that this was where the seed of his miserly and ungenerous approach to life was planted. This most likely defines why Scrooge never does anything to celebrate Christmas. However Scrooge was once a heartful person who did have love for a woman. Unfortunately Scrooge’s business drove her away from this fruitful relationship, most likely because of his greed for money.
Scrooge did have this once in a life time opportunity but blew it away. Dickens refers to the: ‘Shadow of the growing tree’ This symbolizes that his greed was formed early in life and pushed away all those he may have been close to. The lady which he loved so much got on with her life by getting married with another man and having a family, amazingly but sadly Scrooge carried on with his business whilst at the same time becoming a cruel and cold blooded man. However the only other person which showed love and compassion for him died very soon, which left Scrooge as miserly man with a heart for no one.
Dickens shows through the character of Scrooge that some rich people only saw money as their way of life and left everything else behind them. This is shown with: ‘Wept to see his poor forgotten self’ This quote shows that Scrooge forgot everything in his childhood because of his greed of money. Scrooge’s money was used as a weapon to get over his emotion, to show that he didn’t need anyone when he really did. He also used money as a weapon by controlling other poor people such as the Cratchits so they did almost what he told them to so they could get a better living.
Scrooge’s father also used money as a weapon by making sure that Scrooge stayed in boarding school and stopped Scrooge from getting a good quality life. Dickens shows that greed for money can destroy lives and being a very poor was better off in Victorian times than being rich because if you are poor you can sleep peacefully whilst the rich selfish people just want more and don’t want to lose a penny. Scrooge is woken up by his remembrance of his youth, his happy and dark days. Dickens shows this with: ‘A bright clear jet of light’ This shows that Scrooge is realizing what he once was, a cheerful, loving person.