Explore the theme of a change in Christmas carol by Charles Dickens
The Christmas carol is a story, which can be called a novella (a big story but short for a novel). Charles Dickens wrote this in 1843 and it soon became a very famous book. The character that I will be looking at who changes in this novel is Scrooge. Ebenezer Scrooge is known as a very selfish, stingy and cruel man. Scrooge runs his own business that provides him with lots of wealth but it’s his heart that never shows any goodness. His former business partner was Jacob Marley who died seven years ago in the novella.
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So to start of Scrooge’s reclamation from a misanthropist to a philanthropist he meets his former business partner Jacob Marley’s spirit. Jacob was a character who had a heart just like Scrooge, which is probably why they liked working together, and they were very successful.
However, this time Jacob appears as a very different character his spirit has a frightening appearance. He is chained from his feet to his arms and he comes to Scrooge as a beggar or desperate for help. His purpose to be there is to warn Scrooge of a future as miserable as his. He tells Scrooge that three spirits would visit him and show him the past, present and future. From Jacob’s visit, Scrooge looks rather disturbed and anxious which means that he has a fear of what might happen and that is an important part of his metamorphosis.
The first ghost is of Christmas past. This is one of the three spirits whose aim is to achieve Scrooge’s reclamation. The task for this spirit is to show Scrooge’s past, when he appears in the story he has a very bright appearance which could probably mean his bright past (innocent Scrooge). The spirit firstly takes Scrooge to his childhood when he was at school on his own after the Christmas holidays had been started. Scrooge looking at the boy identifies him well and out from his mouth come the words “poor boy” this shows a very unusual character of Scrooge who normally wouldn’t care about anyone. This is why dickens has written referring to this “very foreign to his character.”
On page 41 we finally start to see a transition in Scrooge’s character he feels very sorry for himself in childhood. He mentions to the spirit ” there was a boy singing the Christmas carol at my door last night. I should have given him something.” The ghost gives a smile to see that his task is going very well and Scrooge is showing his true heart.
The spirit moves on to show Scrooge when he was much more older as a young adult when he was working for Fezziwig. He sees himself running and fixing the shutters as Fezziwig orders, and then he dances with all the people in the party Scrooge sees himself interested in Christmas after such a long time he watches his former self so excited and eager that he wonders what that feeling was like. This visit of his past is over and now and it has been a very adventurous experience full of sad emotions and happiness. However the aim for the spirit was to obviously change Scrooge and looking at his past he would try and compare to the present, which shows what a variation the two types of Scrooge have in them.
The second ghost was the ghost of Christmas present. The appearance of this spirit was extremely fat and healthy in fact when it appears the first time its eating food. The appearance of this ghost looks very happy and cheerful dressed in Christmas colours. He takes Scrooge straight to the Cratchit’s house who are having Christmas dinner. Scrooge and the spirit spend quite a long time over at this house they watch the Cracthits Finnish their dinner and sit by the fireplace and celebrate the blessed day.
The reason Scrooge was brought here was to see the cratchit’s having dinner and show him what Christmas is all about the true meaning of Christmas which Scrooge probably not aware of at that time. He is shown the Christmas spirit and desire for happiness, which he didn’t think Jacob cratchit’s family would have. This makes Scrooge feel really guilty because Jacob works so hard at his business and the way Scrooge had treated him in the last few weeks had made it really bad. Scrooge never even asked Jacob about his family and never knew his family was so imbued with spirit.
The evidence of this Christmas spirit in the cratchit’s house is on page 65 “a merry Christmas to us all and May god bless us! ” later on the page we have the evidence to show that Scrooge has changed from the character he had couple of minutes before when he came into the cratchit’s house. Scrooge once again as he did to his previous childhood he gave sympathy to tiny Tim. Tim was in danger of death from illness and before Scrooge would have thought that deaths would decrease the population in this country and therefore les people have to share their money.
However he doesn’t even dare think about tiny Tim that way in fact he gives a special concern, he asks the spirit “is there any chance that boy will be spared!”. The ghost replies that at the moment there is none but if things change then tiny Tim might have the ability to stay alive. Scrooge in reply to that holds his head in disbelief. This shows definitely that Scrooge is not the same character anymore, he is much more dissimilar and changed his attitude. When Jacob cratchit wants to drink to Scrooge his family object and say that why should we drink to a mean and selfish bastard. Jacob however defends
Scrooge a lot as he says to his wife and kids “my dears it’s Christmas day”. For the sake of it everyone drinks to Scrooge and caries on talking about something else. When Scrooge sees this himself he feels that lack of respect, which he doesn’t deserve but Jacob certainly gives him some. Scrooge feels extremely miserable about this and it’s a part that changes him.
The spirit then takes Scrooge to his nephew’s house who is rich and wealthy just like Scrooge but unlike Scrooge he is celebrating Christmas and having fun. When Scrooge goes to visit him he sees another joyful family celebrating with spirit. Scrooge hears his name several times in the dinner and every time it’s to insult him about something he does wrong. Again Scrooge is not happy to hear people insulting him but when the time near he end comes Scrooge is about to leave but he sees every one starting the games. He tells the spirit and this phrase is another verification that Scrooge is changing “one half hour spirit. Only one!!” Scrooge wants to stay for the games. The spirit eventually agrees and lets him and Scrooge actually joins in the games although no one can feel or sense him around. This tells us obviously how unfamiliar scrooge is to his normal self. He is having fun after a long time and its at Christmas.
This is the concluding and final ghost, which Scrooge will meet. Already before the spirit comes Scrooge is ready for it to lead the way and show him what it wants Scrooge to see. When the spirit appears dickens describes it as synonymous with death and mortality. “The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. ”
The figure is a very dark long, black dressed under a hood and as Scrooge walks near it he realises how tall this figure is. Dickens describes Scrooge’s fears, as “Although well used to ghostly company by this time, Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it ” all the spirit did was point to the direction of which Scrooge was supposed to go. Scrooge sees a couple of men that he knows well talking about someone’s death an at first Scrooge doesn’t understand but eventually he discovers its him they are talking about. The men are joking about saying “It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral,” and “I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided,” This obviously hits Scrooge hard that no one actually cares about his death.
After Scrooge and the spirit leave from there the spirit takes him to the final and most terrifying place. The graveyard! Scrooge walks towards the gravestone that the spirit pointed to and on the stone it clearly says “Ebenezer Scrooge .” Scrooge may feel scared and in panic and fear he asks the spirit “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?” the answer to that is absolutely nothing. This line shows an incredible difference in Scrooge’s transition and the word speak for it self “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?” The spirit replies nothing and Scrooge suddenly falls into grave, which had cracked, open. In his agony, he caught the spectral hand. It sought to free itself, but he was strong in his entreaty, and detained it. The Spirit, stronger yet, repulsed him. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate reversed, he saw an alteration in the Phantom’s hood and dress. It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a bedpost.
The ending is near and now Scrooge as he told the spirit has dramatically changed. He is now a totally different and new character. To identify his new change Scrooge quickly tells a young boy to run to the shop and tell the butcher to buy the largest turkey available and bring it over. Surprisingly the boy would even get paid for his help, which Scrooge would totally never even think about doing.
Scrooge pays the butcher money to go and drop the turkey at Jacob cratchit’s house and not to mention that it was from Scrooge. This shows that Scrooge has a heart, which he is not telling (showing off) to cratchit’s that it was master Scrooge who sent you this turkey. Finally when Scrooge sees Jacob at work he raises his salary. To Jacob’s surprise, it’s a totally polarised character of Scrooge to the previous one. The one happy thing about cratchit family was that tiny Tim survived so Scrooge had got what he wished the poor boy to be spared.
The main catalyst for the change was al the spirits and people that Scrooge saw in his exploration. The novella contains a message from Dickens (didactic), which is: we all can change for different reasons, we are changeable. We need to understand the moral and theme that dickens has chosen for this book.
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