Themes Encountered Throughout Charles Dickens S A

Christmas Carol Essay, Research Paper

In the timeless tale, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens focuses upon the extreme transformation of a character named Ebenezer Scrooge. The fact that several moralistic themes can be applied throughout the novel confirms why it is a classic.

The first significant alteration of Scrooge s character occurred when he was a young man, as he became increasingly involved in the occupation of business, where wealth and assets are subjects of great examination and often possessiveness. Described and portrayed as an avaricious, bitter, and solitary man, Scrooge is introduced as critically immoral, occupied constantly by business. Christmas, as the faithful celebrate it, is referred to by Scrooge as a humbug, or fraud. On the topic of a merry Christmas, as his nephew related to it, Scrooge declared that an individual as poor as Fred has little or nothing to be merry about. In one of the most disturbing quotations from Scrooge, he casually remarks to two gentlemen requesting donations for the poor, if [idle people] would rather die [than attend prisons and workhouses], they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population (11). Scrooge accuses Bob Cratchit of being greedy for requesting Christmas as a day to retreat from work to be with his family, when in fact it is he who is greedy, essentially concerned with profits, not people. Orally, this point is perhaps best illustrated in the Past when the girl he once loved more than money, Belle, declared that, a [golden] idol has displaced me (37). Fully aware that Scrooge s priorities are deranged, and he has been degraded to worship wealth rather than valuing the qualities of human love, Belle leaves him.

The intensification of Scrooge s wrongdoing leads to the apparitions and chilling noises that spook him, and eventually force him to acknowledge the magnitude of his sins. The first occasion on which the reader witnesses the hallucinations of Scrooge, is when he sees the ghostly face of the seven-year-deceased Jacob Marley, in the knocker of the door to his home. The image compelled Scrooge to inspect the rooms of his house, and to lock his door uncustomarily. But that did not stop Marley s ghost from making a noisy entrance. The phantom wore a chain of cash boxes, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel, for he was Scrooge s unappreciated business partner of many years; Scrooge conducted his business even on the day of Marley s funeral. Hearing the haunting, disoriented sounds of sorrow and regret, Scrooge was impelled by the ghost of Marley to witness a serious of phantoms who also wore chains, for they were victims of Scrooge s selfishness.

Scrooge is not only haunted by specters, but also by the dialogue spoken from others who have experienced the reality of the dreadful aspects of his character, and by the abrasive words of the spirits. In the Present, Scrooge listens as Mrs. Cratchit abruptly denounces him after her husband denominated him Founder of the Feast. She indicates that Scrooge is, an odius, stingy, hard, unfeeling man (53). Later in the Present, the spirit warns Scrooge to beware of Ignorance and Want, vices symbolized by a boy and girl, whose appearances were wretched and extremely depressing. When Scrooge eagerly alluded the poor children should have shelter and protection, the spirit simply replied, Are there no prisons?…Are there no workhouses? (64). In relation to the beginning of the novel, these words have a great impact because even during the holiday season, Scrooge refused to donate money exclusively for nourishment and warmth to the less fortunate, but rather he chose to support establishments such as prisons and workhouses where he hoped the poor would reside. In the Future, he listens in disgust as people he was familiar with mock him after his death.

From the experiences he has had with the spirits, Scrooge gradually ponders the possibility of a positive conversion. In a scene of the Present, Scrooge is taken by the spirit to a game where the contestants must figure out an answer based on the description provided by Fred. Fred describes the answer subject, who is later revealed to be Scrooge himself, as a savage animal…that growled and grunted…and lived in London (61). Scrooge s nephew ridiculed him and the group laughed at his expense; but Fred follows the laughter with a toast to his uncle s health. This gesture of commendation for someone so unpleasant helped Scrooge realize how forgiving people can be, and to many people, he owes genuine repentance. In the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge pledges that he sincerely hopes to change his ways. The trembling of the spirit s hand at the conclusion of Stave Four suggests that there truly is a chance for Scrooge to overthrow the prophecy he was just presented, and confidently he promises to live in the Past, Present, and the Future, and, the Spirits of all Three shall strive within me (79). Because he has been granted the opportunity to see what his real priorities should be, Scrooge righteously transforms this is the second significant alteration of Scrooge s character. Scrooge attends Bob Cratchit s home, wishes him a merry Christmas, informs him that his salary will be raised, and sits down with the Cratchits to eat the dinner for which he provided an impressive turkey. Scrooge comprehends for the first time how the Cratchits can be delightfully content without wealth. He becomes a second father to Tiny Tim, who, contrary to the scene foretold in the journey with last of the three spirits, does not die. Through regret, Scrooge has been enlightened.

The central theme of A Christmas Carol can best be summarized by expressing that greed is the root of disgrace and corruption. The passionate struggle of man should be for love, not wealth. Thus, Dickens advocates virtuousness by suggesting to weigh the choices presented in life to determine the difference between integrity and covetousness, and to always favor integrity.


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