A Christmas carol - Sample Essay
Once again Dickens has used this effective contrast in opinion to emphasise the difference in attitude between the rich and the poor. Another example of the difference in attitude to Christmas is when a Carol singer sings outside Scrooges door. ‘…. Stooped down at Scrooge’s keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of- ‘ God bless you merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay! ‘ Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror. ‘
Dickens emphasises here that although the poor are getting in the spirit of Christmas and are happy and having fun; Scrooge is not happy and will not let anything ruin his business and money earnings, not even Christmas. The first sign of Scrooge showing any sign of pleasure at the fact that it was Christmas time, comes in Stave 2 when the Ghost of Christmas Past reminds him of a Christmas time when he was a boy. ‘ Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas, as they parted at cross- roads and bye-ways, for their several homes!
What was merry Christmas to Scrooge? Out upon merry Christmas! What good had it ever done him? ‘ This is useful because for the first time here you see that there was a time when Scrooge was a normal young boy who got as much pleasure out of the fact that it was Christmastime as anybody else. This attitude, as we know, must have changed as he got older, and started to earn his own money. , so this is another subtle clue from Dickens that the poorer you are the happier you become. Halfway through the first stave you really start to see a change in Scrooges attitude to Christmas.
‘There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. I should like to have given him something: that’s all. ‘ Scrooges attitude is starting to change as he remembers what it was like to be young and poor. The reader begins to see a softening side to Scrooge. Scrooge is just starting to see how he must change his ways. Dickens also shows a good sense of humour throughout the story and a good technique he often uses is to take the mick out of his characters, especially Scrooge.
‘ When the Bell struck One and no shape appeared, he was taken with a violent fit of trembling. Five minutes, ten minutes, a quarter of an hour went by, yet nothing came. ‘ This is significant because it shows a lot about Scrooges personality, he doesn’t believe what is happening to be true but he is still very afraid of the next spirit; this is possibly because he knows it will only show him bad things about himself and his attitude to Christmas, however he feels very stupid at the fact he is actually scared; which is humorous for the reader.
Throughout the novel Dickens subtly adds in many techniques that help to put the poor people in a good light. He makes a lot of contrasts between the poor and rich but for the first time in the third stave, he contrasts the poor peoples’ awful homes with their high spirits. ‘ The sky was gloomy, and the shortest streets were chocked up with a dingy mist, half thawed, half frozen , who’s heavier particles descended in a shower of sooty atoms…
There was nothing very cheerful in the climate or the town, and yet was there an air of cheerfulness abroad that the clearest summer air and brightest summer sun might have endeavoured to diffuse in vain. ‘ This is very important to the novel as it really reflects the poor peoples attitude to Christmas. It is very ironic because even though their living conditions are terrible and houses and streets were filthy with dirt, they are happy and high spirited, willing to help each other and making the most of the Snow and Christmas season. Dickens is once again reminding the reader of how good the poor people are.