Charles Dickens - Sample Essay
Discuss how Charles Dickens uses Victorian London to show the differences between the rich and the poor members of the society? What message is the novelist trying to tell you? Charles Dickens experienced a lot of poverty in his unfortunate childhood in London. His father was sent to prison for not paying his debts, so Dickens was given the job of producing the family income, at the age of 12. This effected Dickens greatly, “memories of this time haunted him for the rest of his life”.
Dickens didn’t want to live the same life as his farther, so he decided to write many novels sometimes based on his knowledge of poverty. The Christmas Carol is a good example of this because he compares the rich with the poor in Victorian London. I think he used A Christmas Carol to write many moral messages and change our views on the poor, so we feel more pity towards them, a frequent one he uses is that you don’t need a lot of to be content, comfortable and enjoy your self. He uses this when writes about Fezzywig’s party and at Bell’s house.
I believe he wrote these messages in his books because they wouldn’t been seen out of context and more people would learn them this way. Dickens uses the weather, the time of year, buildings, language and jobs to compare the rich and poor in Victorian London. He starts off by using the time of the year, which is Christmas. The word Christmas already brings many assumptions into the head. I think Dickens based his story “A Christmas Carol” around Christmas to make to poor look more desperate and impoverished. When we think about Christmas, we think about caring, given, sharing, food and presents.
The poor obviously don’t have enough money to do this because of their low income. This makes us feel sympathy for the poor for not being able to cherish and enjoy the happiness of Christmas like our self’s. I think that one of the main reasons Dickens tells his story based around Christmas is because it is a very religious and spiritual festival and its religious elements are still not questioned today. Dickens used this so the ghosts that are situated in his story will not be seen out if context and will not be questioned as if they are too unrealistic.
When I read Scrooge’s comments on Christmas, I want to feel distant from Scrooge as if I have no connections with his harsh opinions. Already Dickens has made me self recognise and self reflect my actions in society. He has done this by projecting a lonely, miserable image of Scrooge. Many people would only dread spending Christmas like Scrooge. Dickens uses the poor to compare their attitudes towards life and Christmas with Scrooge. In the first chapter Scrooges nephew approaches him in his dismal work office, his first words to Scrooge were, “a merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!
” Scrooge replies, “Bah! Humbug! ” Scrooge’s, attitude to Christmas is dismissive, he can’t bear Christmas and all that dwell with it, Scrooge believes that”… 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. ” But Scrooge’s nephew takes advantage of the precious, charitable time of the year and is merry despite the lack of money he owns. Scrooge thinks that you can’t be merry without a lot of money. Scrooge questions his nephew he said, “what reason have you to be merry?
You’re poor enough. ” Scrooge is oblivious to happiness without money, he will only except the fact that his money will bring joy to his life yet he remains discontented. In the conversation between Scrooge and his nephew, Scrooge’s nephew tells Scrooge a very important moral message about Christmas. He said, “the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
” Scrooges nephew tries to tell him that Christmas is a historical and highly communal festival that acts as a leveller of all social classes because we will all face the same judgement at the end of our life’s. This is good example of dickens trying to tell us moral messages. Linked with Christmas is the weather, which surrounds London and creates an atmosphere of dullness and bleakness, in the story A Christmas Carol. Dickens uses the weather to amplifies the conditions of the poor and makes Scrooge’s approach to the impoverished seem even less charitable under these circumstances. Dickens again wants us to feel sympathy for the poor.
As soon as the story starts, Dickens describes the atmosphere in London using weather imagery. Dickens describes the poor suffering and making disappointing efforts to keep them selves warm. “It was cold, bleak biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. ” From this description I can tell that the poor are open to the elements of the cold, therefore they are dressed in tattered clothes that leave their bodies venerable to disease and illness.
I think Dickens describes the poor in conditions like these, because I believe he wants the rich people, reading the book to become aware of their fortunate social status in life, and think them selves lucky that working conditions, such as the ones in the story of A Christmas Carol, are not in attendance in their lives. On page 13 of A Christmas Carol, Dickens uses a lot of personification in his description of the weather. He describes the cold as intense and “foggier yet, and colder. Piercing, searching, biting cold. ” By using personification Dickens achieves many images through small sentences.