Dickens Childhood in ‘A Christmas Carol’

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One of the most successful writers in Victorian era who is well known for his timeless holiday novel, A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens childhood influences the central themes of his novels because growing up Dickens had to learn how to fend for himself and his struggles shadowed what his novels were about. A Christmas Carol, one of Charles Dickens all time classic, tells a tale of an old man named, Ebenezer Scrooge who doesn't believe in the jolly spirits of Christmas because his greed for money weathers his soul. Jacob Marley is Ebenezer Scrooge's deceased business partner that was just as selfish and greedy as Scrooge. He comes back as a ghost on the nights before Christmas to warn Scrooge that he will be visited by three different ghosts on three different nights to convince him to become someone a selfless person, and if he does not change his ways then he will suffer the fate of being chained up and wandering the earth as punishment for his arrogant ways. If they would rather die, ... they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. (Dickens, 9)

Furthermore, there could be assumptions made between this story and the author because growing up the rich back in the day were selfish and never gave back to the economy. Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 and his family was considered in the lower class. By the time he was age 12, he was already out on his own looking for jobs that were hard labor with minimum pay. He would walk several miles to get to work and he would only be able to see his family during the weekends. This portion of his life helped shape the writer into what he is known for today. His fictional tales about corruption, neglection, and orphaned children is where he captures the attention of readers. All in all, the theme for this essay will be interpreting how the consequences of greed will get the better of Ebenezer Scrooge and how greed effects people present-day.

In the beginning of the novel, it is Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Scrooge is at his house/business working. Scrooge is known as the nasty, mean, cheap old man in the town because he does not care for anyone else. This is shown when Scrooge refuses to add more coal into the fireplace to warm up the office where he clearly sees his only worker Bob Cratchit shivering while filing papers. Clearly Scrooge has no heart for other people because he'd rather let them suffer and do his dirty work for him while he benefits from it. Then a young man comes in greeting Scrooge a Merry Christmas which ends up being Scrooge's nephew, Fred Scrooge. Fred has come by to invite his uncle to a Christmas dinner. Bah! Humbug. Scrooge replies. (Dickens, 4) That implies that he was disgusted with the idea of Christmas cheer. After that event, he's approached by a group of gentlemen comes by his office and they ask Scrooge if he wants to donate money to charity to support the poor. Scrooge rudely tells these gentlemen that he would only give money to prisons and other businesses and basically says Christmas is just a time to slow down businesses. Scrooge's greediness and personality tells the reader that even the thought of giving money to help others irks him and Christmas to him is just a wasted day to not make money.

Today, times are not as hard as it was back in the 1800's but greed is still a social issue. For example, a lot of people have access to food stamps or health care from the government and instead of helping others that are more deserving they sell them over the internet to get financial gains. Greed is still an issue today because it's easy to be greedy, taking advantage of certain situations and then not having to do anything in return can feel satisfying. Everyone once in their life has been greedy before, people either learn from it and realize what they're doing is wrong or they will continue being a greedy person and turn them into a bad person, but in the end their actions will catch up to them.

Furthermore, A Christmas Carol illustrates a solid example of what happens to Ebenezer Scrooge if he had not taken advice from the ghosts that had visited him all those nights. The first night he's visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the ghost takes Scrooge on a trip to when he was younger and each scene he's taken to shows when Scrooge was filled with love and joy. He's even seen his younger sister Fan, whom is the mother of his nephew Fred. Overwhelmed by the experience of his past life Scrooge gets emotional and tells the ghost to take him back. Reflecting upon his past made it hard for Scrooge because he faintly realizes that his lust for money and fortune has made him forget about Belle, his ex-fiance who left him due to greed corrupting their love. The second night he's visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, he takes Scrooge on different trips to show him all the lives of the people who are poor.

The spirit and Scrooge stop by Bob Cratchits house where they're preparing a Christmas dinner, everyone there looks poor and Scrooge is emotionally attached to Bob's crippled son, Tiny Tim. He asks the spirit if Tim is going to make it, the spirit shows him the Cratchits family next year at Christmas with an empty seat. They proceed to go on to other Christmas functions, even his nephew Fred's, where Scrooge was entertaining himself. Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? (Dickens, 72). The ghost taunts Scrooge for saying this earlier to the groups of gentlemen whom were asking for donation, implying that the poor should be living in prisons because Scrooge wanted the poor to be nowhere near him. Overall, the Ghost of Christmas Present was to show how Scrooge's greed effected the people in his town, he wanted Scrooge to feel empathetic for the people that must work for what they earn.

Currently, even though there are no that law can necessarily protect people from greed. There are situations where the wealthy or businesses greed treat the poor unfairly. For instance, untrustworthy banks hand out their customers mortgages that they know they don't have enough money to pay for, to produce funds and foreclose their homes. Again, associating the wealthy as being greedy and selfish, the Victorian era and modern-day society might not be so different. On the other hand, not all wealthy people are greedy some of which donate to the community. They do this because they've been through the struggles to get from rags to riches, they understand what it's like to have to work hard and overcome obstacles, and by helping those in need it betters the community.

Lastly, Scrooge is then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Future) and the ghost is dressed like a reaper. Charles Dickens illustrates the ghost like this, so he can represent death or fear. The ghost takes Scrooge on a trip to several places where each of the characters at the location are talking about how glad or relieved they are that this old man has died. They even stop by the Cratchit's house where Tiny Tim was no longer with them. Scrooge asks the ghost who this old unforgiving man they were talking about was, and the reaper takes Scrooge to a graveyard where the head stone labeled: Ebenezer Scrooge. Shocked by this Scrooge begs for the ghost to take him back home and promises that he will admire Christmas and learn from all the mistakes he's made from all three ghosts. Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if preserved in, they must lead, (Dickens, 90) Scrooge said this because he finally realized that his greedy choices will be the reason he will be suffering the same fate as Jacob Marley.

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Dickens Childhood in 'A Christmas Carol'. (2019, Jul 03). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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