University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Although It Is a Ghost Story, a Christmas Carol Is an Uplifting Tale
Although it is a ghost story, A Christmas Carol is an uplifting tale. To what extent do you agree?
A Christmas carol by Charles Dickens is a significant novella written in the Victorian era. The protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge is used to demonstrate the upper class society and their attitude towards the poor. Throughout this redemption story, Dickens combines a descriptions of hardships faced by the poor with a heart-felt sentimental celebration of the Christmas season. The novella contains a dramatic and comic element as well as a deep felt moral theme. The text promotes the values of Ebenezer Scrooge, delving into his past, present and supposed future as well as contrasting between the enriching and depressing story; specifically evaluating the authors message, the Cratchit family, Scrooges nature and alternatively the ghostly circumstances outlined in the parable. Dickens message and the spirits of Christmas is one that intends to inspire and uplift the reader.
The author has carefully constructed Ebenezer Scrooge as a “covetous old sinner” to demonstrate the uplifting meaning of the novella. Although Scrooge is an extreme example of a miser perhaps Dickens is saying there is a little of Scrooge in all of us whether it is an unwillingness to share our money with the poor and disadvantaged or our time with people in need. This idea is represented when two portly gentleman visit Scrooge and he explains, “I help to support the establishments I have mentioned, they cost enough.” In this instance Dickens strives to promotes the idea that no matter how crooked, anyone can change through the learning of appropriate lessons to inspire the reader.
The author manipulates the readers emotions by enriching the sympathy of the Cratchit family. The Cratchit family are the perfect example of the difficulties faced by the poor in Victorian England. As Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Christmas Present, “a jolly giant, glorious to see,” and the life of the Cratchits and Tiny Tims condition is revealed there is an almost instantaneous transformation in Scrooge. We see this when Scrooge pleads, “Tell me if Tiny Tim will live… Say he will be spared!” We can see from this that Scrooge shows compassion and that Dickens is aiming to
elevate the feelings toward Scrooge and the ghostly story.
The author illustrates that Scrooge who is depicted as “hard and sharp as a flint” is a greedy miser whom is so old and coldhearted that nothing other than his profits will phase him. Dickens uses the scene when the ghost of Christmas past, “a child-like old man” uses flashbacks to show Scrooge of the memories he once made to show the nature of the much younger character. This is evident when Fan “a little girl much younger than Scrooge” had brought out the affection of her older brother as they planned “to be together all the Christmas long, and have the merriest time in all the world.” What is important about this example is not just that it shows the compassion Scrooge once felt but also that Scrooge is not truly crooked and horrible to the core establishing the uplifting and inspiring feeling to readers.
The title of the novella, A Christmas Carol, is immediately recognized by the reader as hardly appropriate for the first stave. Stave one does not resemble the happy and cheerful world of Christmas trees and presents, but instead the reader is exposed to, what can only be described as, ‘ghost story’ features. Ghost stories are meant to be scary, typically the ghosts that appear in this genre bring nothing but evil, but in this particular parable the trio of ghosts aim to help Scrooge. This is why the opening sentence “Marley was dead, to begin with” is particularly strange. Even though it is a ghost story, the ghostly circumstances of the tale help to highlight the uplifting messages and examples in the story.
Dickens message to readers, The Cratchit family and Scrooges nature are all vital in the fulfilling and uplifting story of A Christmas Carol. The heart felt theme and comic element are all used well in order to inspire and influence the readers emotions towards each character. Dickens has achieved this using gothic literature and the ghostly features of the story. Overall, the author has used the learning of appropriate lessons to inspire and uplift the reader. Why has the title A Christmas Carol been chosen to represent what seems to be a ghost story?