A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens wrote his novels during the Victorian times. Britain

was a harsh place at this time with the upper and lower classes being

clearly separated. Dickens himself grew up as part of the lower

classes, and so he knew what it was like. It was very hard for the

poor to survive, many of them having no alternative but to go into the

workhouses. This seemed to be the worst place to end up, as many

people would rather have died than gone into the workhouses. When

people went to the workhouses, they were separated from their

families, forced to work long hours and hardly fed at all. The

workhouse system was the upper classes solution to poverty, but it did

not help at all. The lower classes were still living very hard lives.

Dickens published 'A Christmas Carol' in 1843 to try to bring the

lower classes hard lives to the attention of people who could do

something about it; the upper classes. He decided to write a novel

because he felt that more people would take an interest in a book

rather than leaflet, because the attitude towards helping the poor was

not good. In the novel, the main character, Scrooge, is used to

personify the upper classes. The three ghosts are used to show that

the poor are not all 'idle' and that some are genuinely in need.

Before the ghosts came, Scrooge was 'hard and sharp as flint' and

solitary as an oyster'. There is a lot of descriptive language used

about Scrooge (in the 6th - 8th paragraphs) by Dickens, which gives

the impression that Scrooge was bitter, cold and lonely. He believed

that if people were poor, it was not his 'business' and he just wanted

'to be left alone'. He refused to give money to the poor at Christmas

and sai...

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...f they

do not change their ways, then the poor people who still have some

dignity, who were shown by the 'Ghost of Christmas Present', will also

eventually become so desperate, that the seedy, dirty London that is

shown by the 'Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come' is what the whole city

will end up like.

Dickens presents the lower classes realistically; he does not try to

make out that all poor people are kind hearted. He tries to make the

upper classes realise that the situation of the poor can only get

better if they do something to help. He also tries to make the reader

feel concerned about Tiny Tim and show the upper classes that they can

help; when Tiny Tim is mentioned, it is almost like a personal appeal

to the reader to help someone in need. Dickens presents the lower

classes effectively and this is probably why the book is still very

popular today.
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