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“By Close Analysis of Staves One and Five Show How Dickens Portrays

the Transformation of Scrooge and To What Effect”

In December 1843, Charles Dickens wrote and published “A Christmas

Carol.” He published this book when he needed money; he needed money

badly because he was in debt. He decided to link it to things that are

happening; that Christmas was not taken seriously, it was fading out

and ghost traditional Christmas tales. Dickens used the genre of ghost

stories, but Dickens did something unusual, he changed the fact that

ghost stories are meant to be frightening, in this book, the ghost

stories were scary.

In 1843 (ancient times), there were no security, pensions, national

health nor compulsory education. You were expected to work six days a

week and on Sunday, you go to church (only if you had a job). Those

who had no job couldn’t go to church, because they were probably in

prison or workhouse. There were no holidays, you had to work on Boxing

Day, and if you ended up in debt, you would be put in debt prison.

Dickens grew up in this prison with his dad, he started work at the

age of 12 (it was a terrible work).

Looking at the Book, it was about ghosts, and ghost stories were

always told during Christmas. Books were always in chapters, but

Dickens wrote his in staves; musical notes. Dickens starts to compare,

first, looking at the full title, “A Christmas Carol in prose,” to

have a carol in prose means a contradiction (to speak against). The

book written in staves, which is a music stave, is already

contradicting the title. In the preface, he uses another contradiction

(repetition); we will also be looking at jokes and humours.

Stave1: Marley’s Ghost

“Marley was dead; to begin with” this is a contradiction; we already

begin to make assumptions about the story. Stave1, beginning with a

negative statement; “Marley was dead..........” (A quick reference to

stave 5), and stave 5; a positive statement; “Yes!” with an

exclamation mark, showing that there is an excitement there, even in

the first paragraph. Dickens uses repetition in the first paragraph of

stave 1; clergyman and clerk, undertaker and chief mourner, and

Scrooge was also emphasised twice. He uses a simile; “Old Marley was

dead as a door nail”, he was being humorous; in the book he explains

why he used it, but we figured out that Dickens uses these to slow

down the “pace” and change the “atmosphere”, this was meant to be

funny (in1843), he used this to divert people’s attention from the
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