DISCUSS HOW SCROOGE CHANGES IN THE NOVELLA
Immediately we see Scrooge presented as a miserly, miserable and money grabbing character in the metaphor “tight-fisted hand at the grindstone,” Here he is being compared to a mechanical wheel that unrelentingly works away at something, grinding it until it is in pieces and has nothing left to give. This quote is in reference to the way he treats Bob Cratchit, working him unforgivingly in his role as a clerk. Even though a clerk had to be educated, Bob is treated poorly by Scrooge, working in a small, cramped space with little light or heat to make his difficult job more bearable. “One coal” on the fire and a “candle” to heat himself by is how Dickens explains his work situation, which creates a depressing picture of poor Bob and shows how little care and attention Scrooge gives his employee at this point in the book. This highlights how some wealthy men, like Scrooge, gave little thought to their employers in Victorian times, Bob’s comfort and job satisfaction is unimportant, which is indicative of the way most wealthy men treated their employees at this time. Scrooge, later in the novel realises the error of his ways and treats Bob on Boxing Day to a ‘bowl of stew’ and promised to raise his money in order to rectify his previous poor treatment of him. This act, while redemptive for Scrooge, also allows him to become a part of the Cratchit’s lives and Scrooge gains joy and comfort from being like a second father to Tiny Tim, who undoubtedly would have died had Scrooge not increased Bob’s wages. Unfortunately, for Scrooge Dickens use a long list of negative adjectives to describe his demeanour “ squeezing, wrenching, grasping…” which suggests just how terrible Scrooge is at the start of the novel. However, his change is drastic by Stave 5 and he promises to “live in the Past, the Present and the Future” and repeats this when he wakes up to show exactly how much he meant this promise: this statement also reflects the three symbolic and supernatural journeys he is taken on by the Ghosts.
Further into the extract we continue the terrible portrayal of Scrooge with the use of pathetic fallacy, a technique Dickens employs throughout the novel to highlight hardship and people managing to overcome this, unlike Scrooge to begin with. “No wind that blew was bitterer than he” showing that his emotions have frozen. “Bitter” suggests he is sour, angry at the world and unreasonable. However, this is not the only allusion to weather “came down, handsomely, and Scrooge never did.” which again reflects that despite the terrible wintery conditions, Scrooge would never put his hands in his pockets or spend any money to make conditions better for himself or anyone else. It reflects his uncharitable self with the “Two Portly Gentlemen” who visit on Christmas Eve in Stanza one, but who he ask “Are there no workhouses? … Are there no prisons?”, showing a lack of compassion for the less fortunate. Dickens also uses weather in Stave 3 when he shows the men in the middle of the North Sea enjoying themselves and having a festive time, despite being in the middle of a raging storm. This contrast could be used to remind Scrooge that other people less fortunate than him were able to have fun and make the best of terrible conditions, despite the hardships they had to endure. Scrooge reflects on the visions and issues he sees with the Ghost of the Present and it is plays a pivotal role in Scrooge recognising that he needs to change. Here poverty is shown to be an evil in society that wealthy Victorians felt were somebody else’s problem. The workhouses and debtors prisons were hugely feared by poor people as once they were in this ‘system’ the likelihood of getting out of it was very little. Dickens was inspired by his own father’s misfortune, as he had to work as a boy and leave education when his father fell into debt and was imprisoned in a debtor’s prison, leaving the young Charles with a social conscience that he used as inspiration for his writing. A Christmas Carol is allegorically showing how divided society was at the time as rich and poor people didn’t mix and rich people didn’t generally want the poor to better themselves.