A Christmas Carol’ is a straightforward allegory. An allegory is a type of narrative story in which events or characters represent a certain idea or theme, which relies heavily on symbolism. Dickens’s story is about a greedy, selfless man called ‘Scrooge’ who is the opposite of what Christmas means. The first line of the novel ‘Marley was dead’, Marley we learn was once Scrooges partner and who comes back as a phantom to warm Scrooge to change his ways otherwise he will become a wondering phantom like Marley once dead.
Dickens uses symbolism before the book is even open. The title ‘A Christmas Carol’.
The novel isn’t about a carol but carols show joy, happiness and a time for everyone to come together. The main character Scrooge shows the opposite to the title as he was a greedy, cold man, ‘No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill … … the heaviest rain, snow, hail and sleet could boast of the advantages over him in only one respect’.
The way Scrooge is described in the novel, is as the weather, as the fog in the courtyard thickens as he leaves work, as if the fog were Scrooge. Musical imagery is used, like the title, as staves and used not chapters, which shows that the theme of the ‘carol’ is brought through the whole novel.
This creates a mood of happiness and song. Scrooge is introduced in the first staves as ‘the greed in humanity’. Marley is also introduced in the fist stave but only as a phantom.
‘Marley was dead’. The first line shows that the living dead could come into the novel. Marley being Scrooge’s partner is exactly like Scrooge, a mirror image. ‘Scrooge and Marley’ sounds like brothers, or very close friends. Marley returning one night, Christmas Eve to warm Scrooge how he should change his ways before he ends up like Marley, a wondering, free phantom all chained up with his own greed.
Scrooge representing the greed of humanity in the novel and Marley being the conscience of mankind. When the two gentlemen visited the counting house to collect for charity and food for the homeless, Scrooge managed to turn this charitable gesture into a something cold. Scrooge begins to talk about places for the homeless to go, but not foster homes or an orphanage Scrooge says ‘are there no prisons’, ‘union workhouses’ and ‘treadmills’ which they can go to. These words show that Scrooge only cares for one person, himself and finishes with ‘it’s not my business…
good afternoon gentlemen’ forcing the men out with out giving any contribution. Fred is the exact opposite of his uncle Scrooge. Fred symbolises the joy and happiness of Christmas. Fred is undaunted by Scrooge’s refusal to dine with him on Christmas. Fred says that Christmas is ‘the only time I know when men and women seen by one consent to open their shut up hearts freely’, Fred shows the true joy of Christmas. Bob Crachet is a worker for Scrooge and is dependant on him, even though Scrooge doesn’t really care for him in the slightest.
‘Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s (Bob) fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal’ this proves that Scrooge never cared for anyone not even his own employees. The counting house along with Scrooge’s cold, bitter greed strengthens Scrooge’s appearance as a hollow man even though not much is said about his work place ‘Counting’ brings money into sight which is the only thing Scrooge really cares for. When Marley’s ghost appears and talks to Scrooge, he sees the large chain around his body.
Scrooge notices that it is made out of ‘catch boxes, keys, padlocks, ledges, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel’. This is to symbolise everything that Marley ‘forgot in life’. He ‘made it link by link and yard by yard… and of my own free will I wore it’. Marley goes on to say how Scrooge also beers a large heavy chain himself but really it symbolises his conscience as that is what Marley is ‘the conscience of mankind’. When Marley leaves, Scrooge goes to the window only to see the sky full of phantoms like Marley all wearing chains similar to his and all had a partner.
Marley’s partner was Scrooge but he was still alive so Marley was alone for now as if Scrooge didn’t change his ways then he would be joining Marley and the other phantoms, as they all symbolise what would happen to man if they carry on there bad ways. The partners were all ‘linked together’. Scrooge knew most of them from their lives, as they must have been in the same trade as Scrooge. Stave two doesn’t introduce many more characters. The first ghost that Marley warned him of came at one o’clock at night, ‘the Ghost of Christmas Past’.