Dickens underlining purpose in writing “A Christmas Carol” was to inspire in his readers charity towards the poor. Do you think this comes through clearly in your reading of the novel? Charles Dickens, the celebrated English writer, was motivated to write this novel, “A Christmas Carol”, because of his heartfelt sympathy at the poverty existing in England and his will to teach others the meanness to the human heart. The tale was solely designed to inspire charity and goodwill in people’s hearts to include those lea fortunate in the traditions involved in the celebrations of Christmas and its universal goodwill.
Charity towards the poor and destitute is clearly displayed throughout the novel with the use of Tiny Tim who symbolises the plight of the poor which evokes feelings of charity in the rich, and the use of Scrooge the “covetous old sinner” who transforms his morbid self into an animated Christian man. The poverty which existed in England emotively affected Dickens; therefore his ambition was to teach others the damage of meanness to the human heart and that it is never too late to change and reach out and helps those lacking the full enjoyment of life especially within the Christmas season.
The Cratchit family were deeply affected by Scrooges meanness, they were not a handsome family, they were not well dressed, their shoes were far from being waterproof, their clothes were scanty….. But they were happy, grateful, pleased with one another, and contented with the time”. Belle, Scrooges fiancee releases him from their engagement after her father dies as she is left with no dowry and believes Scrooge will no longer be interested in marrying her since she is poor. We see how much Scrooge has lost because of his love of money through the vision showing Belle with her nice husband, beautiful daughter and happy bunch of children.
Belle and her husband show pity for Scrooge although he chose his own fate. The Charity collectors set out to get donations for the poor and neglected and visited Scrooge along with many others. Scrooge and his cold hearted attitude towards those “who suffer greatly” and “in want of common comforts” describe them as nothing more than “surplus population”. This snide comment displays how selfish Scrooge is and just what damage his attitude has to his heart making it cold and merciless. Dickens had great faith in the poor and he always endeavoured to present them in favourable light to the rich.
If only Scrooge had opened his hands and his heart to charity sooner he would have been a happier person and a more enjoyable person to be with. It is the responsibility of the privileged to act with generosity and nobility towards those less privileged to include them in the traditions of Christmas and the universal goodwill. Scrooge a “tight fisted hand at the grindstone….. squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping covetous old sinner” longed to possess all the riches of the world and keep it all for himself.
He was so cold-hearted and self-contained he doesn’t see any reason for him to help the poor in any way. The two men that visit Scrooge asking for donations for the poor and destitute are sure although Marley is dead that “no doubt his liberality is well represented in his surviving partner”, Scrooge. The idea of liberality, a generous giving sprit definitely was not an element of Scrooge, he “frowned and shook his head”, for he was so cold hearted he saw no personal responsibility to help those in need “who suffer greatly”.
The local Bakery is a fine example of the privileged helping the poor such as cooking the Cratchit’s Christmas roast which was duck being all they could afford. This polite gesture of the bakery is the complete antithesis of Scrooges attitude towards the poor. Nevertheless as parsimonious as Scrooge was at the beginning of the novel he undergoes a complete transformation and helps the Cratchit’s fund the medical help needed for the survival of Tiny Tim. Throughout the Christmas season charity and goodwill towards all especially the poor is very much encouraged.
Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family symbolise those at risk of poverty who could be helped if society was more generous. Tiny Tim who is movingly described as an innocent, sweet hearted, handicapped child full of cheerful optimism causes many to grieve. It would take a very hard hearted man to fail to be moved by Tiny Tim and his circumstances but nevertheless Scrooge did it unlike others such as the charity collectors and those that support it would feel greatly towards anyone put in these extreme conditions.
The Cratchit’s despite and very hard life are happy and cheerful yet they receive minimum if not any compassion from Scrooge. Bob Cratchit, the long suffering clerk of Scrooge is paid next to nothing and can’t even freely ask for a day off to celebrate Christmas with his family. When the clerk observed Christmas was only once a year Scrooge replied “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty fifth of December.
Scrooge scorns the idea of Christmas and is mean to anyone that utters the word Christmas s he looks at the negative side of everything. Scrooge a miserly creature that sits on a pile of gold is mean to all, including charity, the general public, his employee and the Cratchit family. Scrooge in his snide statement to the charity collectors about the poor and destitute describing them as “surplus population” clearly displays that he has no sense of responsibility to help others in need. Scrooge “solitary as an oyster” is so putting off in his appearance and behaviour that no one ever talks to him.
He is harsh to his clerk and is positively ride to his charming and affable nephew who persists in giving Scrooge opportunities to have a real relationship with him yet Scrooge continues to reject it. Scrooge acts as though he has entirely cast himself out from all human society as he is so self-centred and looks at the negative side of everything, whereas the visions of the three ghosts helps him to learn the error of his ways and that the selfish manner he was living in was robbing him of his humanity and others less fortunate who would benefit from the charity he could give.
Overall, Charles Dickens the renowned English writer successfully inspires his reader’s charity towards the poor because of the poverty in England that restricted those less privileged experiencing the enjoyment and merriment of Christmas traditions. Tiny Tim and his family are used to clearly display the effect Scrooges meanness has on the human heart and lifestyle. The readers are furthermore compassionate and openhearted towards the needy and underprivileged as we see Scrooge is softened by his experiences with spirits.