The novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ narrates the story of a man called Scrooge and how he realises his behaviour to people must change in order to do well in his life as spirits show his past, present and future. In each stave Scrooge gradually changes his attitude to become a better person. Early on in the play, Dickens talks directly to the reader using a humorous tone. He also uses similes in order to build up our view of Scrooge’s character before we come to meet him.
‘Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire.
‘ This use of language informs the reader that Scrooge is a mean and greedy person and has a great impact on how we view him. Long, multi-clause, complex sentences are used throughout the novel, which are challenging to read. Dickens also uses lists, metaphors and personification to create setting and character. As the story opens, the weather is dull and miserable.
‘It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal. ‘ This is used to represent Scrooge, showing his ugly qualities, the weather being used as a metaphor.
Dickens then uses many devices to introduce Scrooge’s character and the theme of goodness. He uses a metaphor to demonstrate Scrooge’s immoral character and his lack of kindness to all by description. ‘Oh! But he was a tight fisted hand at the grindstone. ‘ He uses the device of a simile ‘Hard and sharp as a flint’. Alliteration is then used to create emphasis on his nastiness.
‘The cold within him froze his old features’. Dickens then uses setting to explore the theme of goodness. The place and weather described is then related to Scrooge’s character.’old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house.
‘It was cold, bleak, biting weather’ ‘The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole’. He used external coldness to reflect Scrooge’s cold nature. We are then introduced to Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, in a conversation. Dickens creates a contrast between the characters of Scrooge and Fred as Scrooge is described bitterly and with coldness and darkness whereas Fred is described cheerfully and with warmth and light. He makes us like Fred and dislike Scrooge by the way they are described. ‘A frosty rime was on him’.
This is in contrast with the warm hearted Fred ‘that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome’. This is similar to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where light and dark imagery and reveals the play’s theme to reinforce the theme of the novel. As we hear the conversation between Scrooge and Fred we realise their different views about the goodness of Christmas. Scrooge is very negative about Christmas whereas Fred is positive about it. Throughout this section we are taken back to the theme of goodness. ‘There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited.
‘ Fred is leading Scrooge to be like him in his goodness to people. Scrooge meets Marley’s ghost and who says he must change his ways in order to help people through their journey of life, to do goodness, which is the message of the novel. In the second stave Scrooge is taken back into his past and this has an impact on Scrooge’s character. The spirit of the past takes Scrooge back to innocent childhood which is when we see the first sign of emotion from Scrooge, ‘but fell upon the heart of Scrooge with a softening influence, and gave a freer passage to his tears.
‘ ‘Scrooge muttered, with an unusual catching in his voice, that it was a pimple. ‘ In this stave the setting is in contrast to the first Stave as we begin in the coldness and grime of the negative urban city of London, then change to beautiful clear and bright positive rural setting. ‘It was cold, bleak, biting; foggy withal’. ‘Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys were in great spirits’ The spirit then takes him to Scrooge’s first employer, Fezziwig who was very kind to him and treated him well.
We read about Scrooge at the Christmas party where Scrooge becomes emotional about the joy he had and realises there is more to life than money. Scrooge also feels regretful as he sees how an employer can make his employees jubilant and feels he has not done it for Bob Crachit. ‘Fezziwig, bless his heart’. There is further evidence that Scrooge is changing by his expression. ‘His heart and soul were in the scene’. He is already a very different character from Scrooge we met at his counting house. In Stave three as Scrooge lies upon his bed awaiting for something to happen and finally going to his door, a voice is heard.