In this essay I intend to show how Scrooges character changes throughout the book and how the use of language and descriptive literary techniques Charles Dickens manages to portray Scrooges changing character. The book is a short story. It is written like this because Dickens used to put his stories in the paper monthly, so he couldn’t make them to long or people would get bored. The industrial Revolution took place during this time and throughout the book there are references to the effects of this
In Charles Dickens time, London was a very dirty and crowded city due to the fact that at this time Britain was going through an Industrial Revolution. There was a lot of poverty and people who worked in the large factories got continuously poorer and the owners of the factories got richer, more influential and had power over the workers. The rich did not concern themselves with the poor and did not feel responsible for them. Society being what it was at this time meant that the poorer workers could not move up the social ladder to a position of power.
It was an unbreakable barrier. Dickens wrote this novel to show the rich people of London what life was like for the poorer community. He was trying to change their attitudes as he had seen and lived in the conditions. Throughout the novel Scrooge becomes more aware of the plight of the poor people. Three ghosts visit him in the night. One of ghosts shows him his past, one his present and another his future. It is these ghosts that eventually change Scrooges ways. The first shows him how he spent Christmas as a child “Good heavens….
I was bred in this place. I was a boy here”. At this time in his life Scrooge had been deserted by his parents, they did not care about him. He would be left in school over the Christmas holidays, the only child there ” the school is not quite deserted,” said the ghost “A solitary child neglected from his friends and family is left there still”. This gets to scrooge and he is overcome by the feelings, memories and emotions that he had tried to forget and block out and he breaks down crying.
He is then shown other memories from his younger years and in the end it becomes too much for him to handle ” Leave me, take me back, haunt me no longer”. The second ghost shows him how the present Christmas will be because of him. He is shown the Cratchett family the father of whom works for Scrooge as his secretary and although they have a meagre amount compared to scrooge are all happy and disconcerted with the meal despite it’s obvious insufficiency. Scrooge cannot understand this as he is used to so much more than what they have and having to do with such a small amount is not in his ‘culture’.
One of the Cratchett children is going to die. Tiny Tim is a cripple and he immediately catches Scrooges eye. It affects Scrooge and makes him feel guilty “Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live” he asks, but he is distraught to here the answer. “I see a vacant chair” the spirit replies. Scrooge then sees what other people think of him. He sees the Crahchetts drinking to his health not because they want to but because they feel it is their duty ” I’ll drink to his health for your sake and the days ” replied Mrs Cratchett.
He sees the same at his nephew’s house. After seeing the way his nephew acted Scrooge realises that he has been treating his family the same as his employees- he hasn’t cared for them either. This whole overview of peoples feelings towards him makes him realise how his wealth and power has had an affect on people and he also realises how much rich, influential people can influence the poor peoples lives. The third ghost is the one who has the most notable influence on him. Scrooge sees a dead man.
A man who no one cares about “I don’t mind going if lunch is provided” and are actually happy that he has died. Scrooge wonders who the man is. They then see a woman selling some of the things that she took from the dead mans room “Bed curtains, you don’t mean to say that you took them down while he was lying there”. The people have so little respect for the dead man that they steal his possessions while he is lying dead on the bed. Scrooge at this point pulls back the sheet of the bed to reveal the man who is lying there and is horrified to see that it is him lying on the bed.
Finally the ghost takes Scrooge to a graveyard. He is then shown a grave that looks as though no one has bothered to touch it for years. The ghost reveals Scrooges name on the stone and Scrooge finally cracks up. “Spirit, I am not the man I was, I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse” ” assure me that these shadows can be changed”. Scrooge has finally realised thing about himself that he had never thought of before, most notably how he has abused his social position and wealth.
Throughout the story whist Scrooge’s character is changing, Dickens manages to use language to keep you in good mind about how Scrooge is and acts. He uses many adjectives to describe Scrooge ” Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner”. He uses language like a poet. He uses repetitive language “scraping, clutching” to put across the point, in this case how bad Scrooge was as a person. He also uses similes to portray this point “Hard and sharp as a flint” He compares Scrooge to something to make it easier and more comprehensible for the reader.
He uses this type of language and literary techniques to describe the setting. In this case, London. “The fog came pouring in through every keyhole and chink and was so thick that although the court was the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms”. The fog was a result of the Industrial revolution at the beginning of the 18th Century, the time at which the book was set. The pollution gave a smoggy and foggy layer over London. This quote shows that the fog was so thick that you couldn’t see the house across the street.
Dickens description of what London was like, reflects the personality of Scrooge who was a dark, sinister, emotionally short-sighted man who would not let any one have his things or share them with anyone. This is reflected in the fog, which would not let the person see the house opposite and surrounded anything that it felt like. By the end of the book he is a very kind happy person ho is friendly and caring towards other people. This is mirrored in the description of the surroundings. It is a bright, sunny day with cheery people. This underlying imagery helps to show the changes in that Scrooge underwent during that short period of time.