A Christmas Carol 4 Essay

2735 words - 11 pages

Explore how Dickens uses the character of scrooge to highlight Victorians’ attitudes to the poor.

On December 19th 1843 Charles Dickens published his most famous novel, A Christmas carol. The novel was written in Victorian England where the attitudes of the upper classes towards the poor were a lot different to what they are today. During the time the book was published the poor law was enforced, meaning that the poor had to work for their welfare as most wealthy people thought that too much money was being paid to them so they made a law where they had to work for it. This meant that people in the working class had to work in workhouses where the living conditions were putrid. Charles ...view middle of the document...

Charles Dickens has created this image to emphasise and express the bitterness and gluttony of the upper classes in order for them to realise that their greed and unwillingness to help society is wrong and they should give something back to society. He is also trying to make the reader believe that this character in incapable to change so when he does it shows anyone can.

Scrooge has a nephew called Fred who has the complete opposite attitude towards the poor as Scrooge does. "...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.". Fred is saying that no matter what happens we're all on the same path of life and we all end up in the same place no matter what social class we are in. It also means that everyone should help each other as we are all the same creatures all on the same journey. Fred shares the same views as Dickens which is significant as its showing that Dickens not afraid to tackle the serious issues of the time. In my opinion Dickens has used the character of Fred to represent him and his views on the attitudes toward the poor which has been done for effect so you can see the huge difference of opinion between Dickens and Scrooge.

When asked by the charity collectors for a donation “At this festive season of the year…it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.” Scrooge replies “Are there no prisons?”… “And the Union workhouses?”…”are they still in operation?” Scrooge completely ignores the fact that its Christmas and thinks that its just another day so they don’t deserve anything and they should continue working. This suggests that he has no family values of his own as Christmas is a time for families. It implies that Scrooge believes that the poor should either work or get locked up. You would think that everyone would find this reaction outrageous but this was extremely common in Victorian England and most upper class people believed the same as scrooge which is what Dickens is trying to express. The conversation with the charity collector continues where the charity worker says “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.” In which Scrooge responds “if they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” This shows how strong he feels towards the poor by saying they had better die which again reflects to the attitudes of the rich towards the poor.

Later that night Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley. Marley makes it clear to Scrooge the reason why he has visited him. He says “I wear the chains I forged in life, I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?” Marley is saying this because he acted and had the same views as Scrooge and he doesn’t want Scrooge to die...

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