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Charles Dickens’ ‘a Christmas Carol’

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English EW

Famous for his sophisticated vocabulary, Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ reflects on his ability to generate characters with great detail. Going into the beginning of the novel, the main character Scrooge is portrayed as an inhuman monster inhabiting the streets. This essay will look deeper into the context of the language that describes him.

In the first paragraph, Dickens introduces the background of the character. Renowned for his ability to generate meaningful names, the name ‘Scrooge’ is no exception. Just the syllables being ‘spitted’ out sends a chill of uneasy chain-reactions to dwell on. For example, the starting three letters, ‘Scr’ associated with negative adjectives such as ‘scrunched’ and ‘scrawny’. This syllable is repeated reasonably a lot of times, obviously trying to emphasise the name to stick in one’s head. In terms of background information, the author hints his occupation as a warehouse accountant, inferring him as a lover of money and wealth.

The second paragraph develops a cold temperature theme around the reader. Key words such as ’cold’, ‘shrivelled’, and ‘frosty’ all resemble Scrooge’s personality, stating him as a cold-hearted wretch. Dickens uses a chain of negative adjectives to describe Scrooge: “A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” The last phrase “old sinner!” digs deep into the moral side of the reader, hitting them hard with anxiety. Another literary device crying out for attention is alliteration: “secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” Note that a simile is added at the end of the sentence, almost summing it up. Alliteration normally adds to the cleverness of the remark/point being proposed. In this case, being the boost to amplify the significance of other adjectives, i.e. make them sound better. This gives words like ’wiry’ and ‘grating’ an evil effect.


A contrast is given between the evils of Scrooge in the third paragraph. It states the consequences of Scrooge’s bad making. At the beginning of each sentence, note that a definite negative message is produce. Just going through each starting word we come across: no, no, no, no, no, and foul. This sets the trend in which the author decides to undermine the character heavily, giving it no opportunity to seem the slightest positive. This is Dickens’ aim, after all. A stand-out poetic rhythm is also established: “No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open entreaty.” The use of personification compares a human with an object e.g. snow, and the examples used, again, symbolise coldness. A somewhat personal attack is made by Dickens, in an ending metaphor: “They often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did.” Expressing something so elegant, yet so offensive really exaggerates the significance of Scrooge. It was simple: Calling Scrooge wretched was an understatement.



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