A Christmas Carol by Dickens Essay

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A Christmas Carol by Dickens was first published on December 19, 1843. Since its publication, this book, arguably one of his most famous works, has made its mark on American culture and literature. It is difficult to underestimate the significance of A Christmas Carol , which was made into numerous TV and stage versions. Some would even argue that this Dickens’s work invented or rather reinvented Christmas, while others underline the importance of his work for the development of the new forms of literature. This essay aims to discuss the theme and the characters of the book. It starts with a summary of the plot, then examines the main characters and the themes and concludes with the personal opinion on the novella.

Dickens offers a story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy and selfish older man living alone in his London house, whose only concern is money. Scrooge hates Christmas and is indifferent to other people’s suffering, including his workers. However, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his business partner and by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The first ghost takes him on a journey through his past Christmases: one of a miserable and lonely little boy and others of a young man, more interested in gold than in his fiancé. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge his clerk’s family Christmas, a Christmas evening of a poor, but loving family, and his nephew’s celebrations, where guests mock him for his unfriendliness and greediness. Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Future shows him his own death, which would bring more joy to people who knew him than grief. The terror of this night magically transforms Ebenezer Scrooge into a generous and good-hearted man, kind to his neighbors and eager to help those in need.

The main hero of the book, Ebenezer Scrooge, is characterized mainly by his greediness and by the fear that he creates among people who know him. Charles Dickens describes (1843, 4) him as such: “No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man […] inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge”. Even his clerk is terrified of him and barely dares to speak in his presence.

According to Thompson (2017, 269), the descriptions of Scrooge’s personality allude to the Old Testament figure of King Belshazzar, the ruler who loves wealth and who is punished by God for his greed and pride. However, unlike Belshazzar, Scrooge takes advantage of the warning delivered by the Christmas ghosts and changes, fearing the dreadful end that is awaiting him. He accepts to change and declares: “I will not shut out the lessons that they [the Spirits of the Past, the Present and the Future] teach” (Dickens 1843, 57). Thus, he is a sinner, but the night that he goes through makes hem find the strength to change. This magical and radical overnight transformation becomes central to the figure of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Other central figures are the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first ghost to visit Scrooge; he is quite and rather compassionate towards Scrooge, to whom he shows the pictures of his childhood. The Ghost of Christmas Present is a joyful and vibrant character, wearing a green robe and symbolizing joy and happiness. The third Ghost is the most fearsome one; he wears a black cloak and remains silent during their journey. Although the ghosts have distinct personalities, their common characteristic is their role as the messengers. Their figures also reflect Dickens’ interest in “the narrative possibilities of the communication between the living and the dead” (Wood 2018, 412). Dickens’s interest in the supernatural urges him to experiment with the forms of expression and create the figures of these Spirits to deliver the message to Scrooge.

Another prominent figure is Tiny Tim, who is the most significant figure of childhood in the book. He is a son of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk. He has a disability, but is full of cheer and love and brings a lot of joy to his family. His words – “God bless us every one!” – mark the end of the novella (Dickens 1843, 92). The figure of Tiny Tim reflects the conception of childhood as the stage of innocence, although it is not the only way children are represented in the novella (Robinson 2016, 8). For instance, the readers observe frightening figures of children clinging to the clothes of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Contrary to this image of “figures which are a product of a fallen world (Robinson 2016, 2), Tim is a constant reminder to everyone of the courage in the face of difficulties.

The characters of A Christmas Carol serve to express Dickens’s Christian humanistic views and attitudes. According to Newey (2016, 12), A Christmas Carol is one of the most important works of Charles Dickens in a sense that it “brings into focus many of Dickens’s core concerns and attitudes of mind.” Dickens demonstrates the transformation of a greedy lender with no sympathy to others, which symbolizes capitalist and rationalist values, into the embodiment of Christianity and humanism.

The contrast between Dickens’s characters furthers strengthens the differences between two ideologies, the humanistic and the capitalist one. The family of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s clerk, is a model of a loving family, poor in money but rich in heart, while Scrooge himself reflects utilitarian, purely rationalist values. The values of family loyalty, humanism, kindness, are confronted with the rationalism and greediness of the protagonist.

Another theme of the novella is the relationship between the supernatural and the living. As stated above, Dickens’s works have significantly contributed to the development of the Victorian ghost story. His fascination with the supernatural makes him create the powerful figures of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, who communicate with the protagonist and act as the messengers of the divine. This communication between the living and the supernatural is central to the plot. This theme reoccurs in Dickens’s works, for instance, in “The Signalman,” although in total, it is present in about 18 Dickens’s stories. The critical result of the supernatural intervention is that it leads to change and transforms the protagonist.

Although often presented as a children’s story, Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol tells a reader a lot about Dickens’s attitudes and views about the world. This novella promotes the humanistic ideology based on Christian values: love, empathy, and generosity. Moreover, the author experiments with literary forms and contributes to the development of the ghost story. The supernatural plays a central role in the transformation of the main hero. However, the idea that the protagonist needs supernatural intervention in order to change might be problematic for the humanistic perspective that is centered on the agency of human beings. The humanistic perspective stresses the inherently good qualities of human nature, which is contradictory to the idea that supernatural intervention is necessary in order to bring change.

Newey, Vincent. 2016. The Scriptures of Charles Dickens: Novels of Ideology, Novels of the Self. New York: Routledge.

Robinson, David E. 2016. “Redemption and the Imagination of Childhood: Dickens’s Representation of Children in A Christmas Carol.” Literator 37 (1): 1-8. Web.

Thompson, Terry W. 2017. “The Belshazzar Allusion in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.” The Explicator 75 (4): 268-270. Web.

Wood, Claire. 2018. “Playful Spirits: Charles Dickens and the Ghost Story.” In The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story, edited by Scott Brewster and Luke Thurston, 87-96. New York: Routledge.

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christmas carol essay on christmas

A Christmas Carol

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A Christmas Carol: Themes, Redemption, and Dickens's Craft

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The novella begins, themes of the novel, memorable characters, literary devices.

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christmas carol essay on christmas

christmas carol essay on christmas

Miss Huttlestone's GCSE English

Because a whole class of wonderful minds are better than just one!

Model Grade 9 ‘ACC’ essay: Christmas as a Joyful Time

Starting with this extract, explore how far Dickens presents Christmas as a joyful time. (30 marks)

Throughout Dickens’ allegorical novella, his aim is to passionately highlight how such a joyful season can create positive role models for Scrooge. The constant succession of images relating to joy around Christmas may well have been utilised to demonstrate how readers too can learn and improve from the inspirational characters during the novella.

Primarily, within stave 1 of the novella, Dickens utilises the characterisation of Fred as the embodiment of the Christmas spirit with all the positive virtues associated with Christmas. This is evidenced when Fred is described as coming in ‘all in a glow’ with ‘his face ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled.’ Here the use of the noun ‘glow’ connotes light and warmth which is strongly linked to hope and purity. This highlights the contrast between Fred and his uncle Scrooge, who was described as ‘hard and sharp as flint.’ Structurally, introducing Fred immediately after Scrooge focuses the reader’s attention on the clear variation between the two and all of the positive qualities that Scrooge lacks. Furthermore, Fred highlights the belief that Christmas is a time for unity within the social hierarchy although it ‘never puts a scrap of gold or silver’ in his pocket and he frowns upon his uncle, completely consumed in the greed for money. Dickens may have done this to foreshadow Scrooge’s transformation into a better man as a result of the inspirational role models around him during the novella. Alternatively, Dickens may have used Fred and Scrooge together to challenge the situation in Victorian Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Scrooge highlights all of the negative traits of upper class men during this time and Fred is a caring and benevolent character, who cares for people lower down on the social hierarchy.

Secondly, within the extract, Dickens utilises the characterisation of Fezziwig to suggest a clear contrast in the two employers. This is evidenced when Fezziwig ‘laughed all over himself, from his shoes to his organ of benevolence.’ The use of the abstract noun ‘benevolence’ suggests the joy and love Fezziwig has for Christmas time. Fezziwig’s kind, caring personality is another role model and catalyst for Scrooge’s transformation. Furthermore, Dickens presents Christmas as a joyful time through Fezziwig’s Christmas party. ‘Fuel was heaped upon the fire’ and the warehouse was transformed into a ‘snug, and warm’ ballroom filled with light. The use of the adjective ‘warm’ connotes kindness and comfort. The detail here in Fezziwig’s scene overwhelms the senses; his generosity is physical, emotional and palpable. As an employer he is the foil of Scrooge and presents all of the positive virtues that Scrooge lacks. Dickens may have done this to highlight a different side to capitalism. Alternatively, presenting Fezziwig as the embodiment of Christmas suggests the importance of Christmas and all of its positive qualities on everyone in society.

Thirdly, within the novella, Dickens utilises the Ghost of Christmas Present to personify Christmas itself. When the ghost appears it has set up an impressive feast of lights and food. This is evidenced when Scrooge’s room is filled with ‘the crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there, and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney.’ The scene is hyperbolic and creates a clear contrast with the frugal state of Scrooge’s past Christmases. The use of the light imagery here provides a clear and undeniable tableau of the joyful Christmases Scrooge can afford but chooses to shun. Dickens may have done this to portray Christmas as a bright and familiar celebration which everyone should celebrate in harmony. A modern reader may feel hope that Scrooge will use his wealth to celebrate Christmas with all of the festivities that Christmas should include and celebrate it with the people that care for him, like his nephew Fred.

Finally, in ‘A Christmas Carol’ Dickens reinforces the theme of Christmas spirit through the Cratchit family. Dickens utilises Bob Cratchit to symbolise the true spirit of Christmas and the importance of family. This is evidenced at the Cratchit’s dinner where nobody remarked that it was ‘a small pudding for a large family’. The adjective ‘small’ emphasises the Cratchit’s lack of luxury and yet their enthusiasm in the scene is palpable. This highlights that this ‘small’ pudding was seen as an indulgence to them which is something Scrooge takes for granted. Furthermore, the Cratchit’s ‘four roomed house’ is filled with an overwhelming sense of energy and excitement, which exists as an antithesis of Scrooge’s ‘old…dreary’ abode. This is evidenced as the youngest Cratchit children ‘danced about the table’ this suggests the sense of energy despite their lowly status in society on this festive day. Dickens may have done this to suggest the importance of Christmas to all members of society. Although the Cratchit family are less fortunate than Scrooge or Fred their Christmas is filled with the love they have for each other. A reader may feel delighted to see this family enjoying Christmas day, contented with what they own and hope that Scrooge will see this family as a role model for his transformation.

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christmas carol essay on christmas

A Christmas Carol

Charles dickens, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

A Christmas Carol: Introduction

A christmas carol: plot summary, a christmas carol: detailed summary & analysis, a christmas carol: themes, a christmas carol: quotes, a christmas carol: characters, a christmas carol: symbols, a christmas carol: literary devices, a christmas carol: quizzes, a christmas carol: theme wheel, brief biography of charles dickens.

A Christmas Carol PDF

Historical Context of A Christmas Carol

Other books related to a christmas carol.

  • Full Title: A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.
  • When Written: September to December, 1843
  • Where Written: Manchester and London
  • When Published: 19 December 1843
  • Literary Period: Victorian Era
  • Genre: Social Commentary, Ghost Story
  • Setting: London
  • Climax: Scrooge realizes that he will die alone and unloved if he carries on treating people the way he does. The sight of Christmas Yet to Come awakens his sense of remorse and he is desperate to change his fate.
  • Antagonist: Scrooge is the antagonist of his social circle but the villain of the story is the immoral qualities that he represents, meanness and greed.
  • Point of View: A third-person, omniscient narrator

Extra Credit for A Christmas Carol

Dickens’ One Man Show. Dickens was not only famous for his written words, he also gave performances of his stories to rave reviews and standing ovations. He stood behind a reading desk and delivered all the voices of his characters himself.

Piracy Problems. Shortly after its publication, A Christmas Carol was illegally reproduced by Parley’s Illuminated Library and Dickens sued the company. But the Library went bankrupt, and Dickens unfortunately had to stump up a small fortune in legal fees.

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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol Essay.

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Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is a morality tale of a selfish and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge and his visits from 3 spirits representing his past, present and future, bringing him into a complete change of character and reconciliation for his wrongs. It is based in a gloomy social divided 19 th  century London. The story is split between 5 staves (chapters). For my essay I will explore the language techniques such as repetition, exaggeration, similes, pathetic fallacy etc that Dickens has used to establish and illustrate his points and views through the story A Christmas Carol.

One technique Dickens successfully merged into the story structure is pathetic fallacy. In the first stave negative points of the weather is used to describe scrooges character, such as “The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect”, Dickens did this to give the reader an insight into scrooge, so they see how much of a cold person he is and how upon meeting him themselves his presence would be like harsh weather. The use of pathetic fallacy could also be linked to scrooge himself, rain, snow, hail and sleet are all weather conditions that are cold themselves and bring a chill through those who experience them, that could also be said for Scrooge. Scrooge himself is a cold person, so he brings about a cold atmosphere around him and spreads his coldness to others through the way he treats them.

In the last stave Dickens use of pathetic fallacy is switched completely from negative to positive. He does this through a dramatic change of how the weather is described, phrases such as “No fog, no mist”. By saying there is no fog or mist in the sky, it is meaning that the harshness of the weather has gone and there is nice weather that remains now, which represents all the unpleasantness and nasty points of scrooges character have vanished, and to show the reader that his character has transformed, and that he is a changed, good person. Dickens wanted to show two completely different types of pathetic fallacy to create a contrast between scrooge in the first and last stave that the reader can obviously see.

Dickens use of adjectives in the first stave describes scrooge’s character very negatively. Phrases such as “his eyes red, his thin lips blue” are used to describe scrooge’s appearance. This brings the reader to think of scrooge as an ugly man. Under typical thinking the reader may link his appearance to his personality and think of him as an all-round nasty and vulgar man. Dickens did this to strengthen the opinion of scrooge for the reader and sets them up for a big contrast between the first and last staves.

Dickens use of adjectives changes dramatically in the last stave. Phrases such as “He looked so irresistibly pleasant” are used to describe scrooge. Scrooges appearance has seemed to also transform somewhat to the first stave, as if along with his personality, now all the evil and nastiness has been taken out his appearance has adjusted to that as well. The reader now sees scrooge in a completely different light, now that his personality and his appearance has changed he is now seen as a completely transformed person.

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Dickens use of adverbs/verbs in the first stave describes scrooge’s character very negatively. Words such as “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping” are used to describe scrooge, the words link to how tight he is with his money, and how money hungry he is. The verbs themselves sound quite threatening, and so the reader would feel threatened towards such a person as he. Dickens wanted to create a negative view of scrooge for the reader and so by using verbs that describe his actions in a dramatically negative way and make him sound like a money-mongering all around bad person.

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In the last stave Dickens describes and makes scrooges actions sound much brighter and positive in comparison to his actions in the first stave with the use of nicer verbs/adverbs. Verbs such as “fluttered and so glowing” were used to describe scrooge’s actions. The words themselves fluttered and glowing are positive and sound nice, Dickens used words like this to add to scrooges newly found self, and for the reader to see along with a better appearance and transformed personality; his actions are also positive and nice. The term glowing could also be linked with the warmness and the renewing of his character; instead of bringing a dark atmosphere around with him, a certain glow is around him bringing to light to others of his change within himself.

Dickens wanted to put across this idea of rich people being selfish, un-compassionate people. As in Victorian society a blatant social divide of the rich and poor was evident. A sense that people in high society had was that they were more important than those poorer than themselves, and so they’re greed kept their money and anything they had to share was kept to themselves. Dickens’ also shows the appreciation and happiness of the little poor people had and how infact they were richer in life than the rich people were in their wealth.  He uses this with the example to Bob Cratchit’s family with such remarks as “Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart's content.” This shows an emotion not seen in the cold-hearted representation of rich people in A Christmas Carol.

Similes are another language technique that dickens has developed and used to create a dramatic sense of scrooges character. A simile used to describe scrooge for example is “Hard and sharp as flint” this gives the impression that scrooge himself is a person with a hard exterior, almost impenetrable for emotion to break through. He is sharp within the sense of his wit, he talks down to those he opposes and with his sharp wit attacks them verbally, such as where he talks to his nephew and says “What reason have you to be merry?  You're poor enough” this shows the sharpness in his tongue, and the nastiness in his personality. This sort of use of simile gives the reader something to compare scrooge to, and so see deeper into his personality. Here is another simile from the first stave “solitary as an oyster”   an oyster lives on it’s own at the bottom of the ocean isolated, this idea of loneliness could be linked to scrooge. Oysters are also cocooned within a shell; this connects with the thought of scrooge hiding behind a self indulgent front and not letting anyone in emotionally.

Dickens changes his use of simile in the last stave to suit scrooges newly found nice character; this shows a variance between the two opposites in scrooge’s personality in the two staves. For example, here is a simile that describes scrooge in the last stave “I am as happy as an angel” that simile sounds very positive in contrast to ones in the first stave. To say he’s as happy as an angel links into how before he wasn’t happy and his own atmosphere was depressing, but now he is happy and not just happy but as happy as an angelic creature. This shows the reader that scrooge is rejoicing in sight of his own change in character, and how they should feel happy to in response to that.

Repetition is another key technique used to dramatically describe scrooge’s character. A word repeated many times in the first few paragraphs is “dead” with this an instant negative mood is brought upon the reader. With it repeated so many times it keeps the text itself to a low mood, and with the other language techniques combined it makes the reader grasp the pessimistic atmosphere. The word “dead” itself could link to scrooge, as scrooge himself could be seen as dead on the inside, due to his complete lack of emotion shown to anything.

Repetition is used in the same way in the last stave but in a different meaning, not to severely show the bad atmosphere but to highlight and create a positive atmosphere towards the overall affect on the reader. Here is a word repeated often in the last stave “chuckle”. This is a cheerful and enthusiastic word that fits in with scrooge’s new change of character. It makes the reader feel that scrooge is now a humorous person, which he never was before and therefore he has obviously changed.

Scrooges views on Christmas vary between the first and last stave, In the first stave he appears to despise Christmas, and those who think of it as merry, for example he says this to his nephew Bob Cratchit in response to him asking to come round for Christmas dinner “every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” this shows his reluctance against Christmas and makes the reader think that if such a person hates Christmas, a merry and happy time of the year they themselves must be a nasty person. On the other hand they may want to delve deeper into scrooges character, and maybe think why does this man hate Christmas so much? And so wait to find out until they reach an opinion. Dickens idea was to present people of high society as uncompassionate people, and because Christmas is a time to show love and compassion towards others Dickens uses that against scrooges character and makes him hate Christmas, and so that represents the people of high society in that stereotype as cold uncompassionate people, as wanted by Dickens.

In the last stave scrooges view on Christmas appears to have completely changed and reformed into a love of it. For example when he wakes up after all the spirits have visited him he says “A merry Christmas to everybody!” which of course he would have never said before seriously and meant it. This shows the reader that scrooge’s new character has awakened and therefore loves Christmas, and wishes a merry Christmas to all. Dickens created Scrooges love of Christmas to show a comparison between scrooge’s opinions on Christmas, so the reader can see that along with scrooge’s turn of character he is truly a changed man who now loves Christmas.

Dickens uses exaggeration to create a dramatic emphasis of an atmosphere or scrooge’s character, the meaning for it varies between the first and last stave. For the first stave it is used to emphasize the gloomy mood, for example  there is a long list of verbs that describe scrooge and his actions, here is a section of that list “grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous” this directly hits the reader with a settled opinion on scrooge, and makes them think of him as an awfully negative person. He may not be all these things, but in the readers eyes he is exaggerated to be a somewhat inhumanly, horrible and tightfisted man. For that is what dickens’ believed people like  scrooge and within his high class in society to be in the 19 th  century, and so to give the reader a bias view he used exaggeration to exaggerate scrooges actions in a way the reader would be manipulated into believing that that is what rich people were like.

Exaggeration is used in an intensely positively way in the last stave in contrast to the first stave. The phrase “as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world” is an exaggerated phrase, because of course he isn’t the nicest man in the world, but to the reader he appears to be through pushing this idea to them through exaggeration. Dickens wanted the reader to believe that scrooge had become a new person in complete reconciliation for his past-self, and did so by using exaggeration as a language technique to give an obvious contrast between scrooges transformation.

The change of tone and attitude of scrooges character changes dramatically between the first and last stave, this is shown by the way he acts towards others, and how they perceive his as a person. In the first stave for example it says “No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle” this means that no beggars would bother asking him for anything, as they already know what his response would be, a blatant no. This also links to Dickens’ views on people in high society, he regarded them as selfish and tight people, because during the massive social divide in his lifetime people in rich situations in his opinion were selfish and tight and so to spread his views across he used scrooges character and by showing a beggars negative reaction to scrooge. That shows the divide between the two people, high and low class and a disrespect and tightness from high to low. This makes the reader think that scrooge is a selfish, mean man. Dickens uses scrooges attitude towards others so let the readers form an opinion of how they would react to scrooges character themselves.

Scrooges tone and attitude in the last stave reflects his change of character deeply. Because he is of course a changed man his attitude towards others changed also with that. For example as he is asking a young boy to buy him a turkey he says “Come back with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you half-a-crown." This shows his newly found generosity, as before he would have never given anything willingly to anyone. This helps towards the reader adjusting their opinion of scrooge, and believes that if he is kind to others he must be a kind and changed person himself.

The Young Vic performance showed a modern twist of A Christmas carol . Scrooge was played by a woman in a South African setting, I believe having a woman play scrooge is to show that now that there is a near equality between men and women; women can become in a position like scrooge, have money to themselves and be selfish with it. The story explores Aid’s, prostitution, poverty etc, this highlighted the contrast between old and modern society by exploring these issues from today’s world, this is important because it demonstrates the moral of A Christmas carol  in relevance to today.

In conclusion I believe the moral behind Christmas carol is that in a social divided community it is important to treat everyone the same. This is shown through scrooge’s character, and how he treats people somewhat below him in the social hierarchy as a man quite high in society and how he treats them after he has been visited by the spirits. I think that the moral is still of relevance to today’s world, although there is a large time difference between now and then there still are social divides throughout society, weather it be financially or through the new celebrity status’s there are or anything else, so it is still important to withhold the belief that everyone has the right to be treated the same, rich or poor, famous or not famous. Equality is something that should be of relevance though any time, weather it is a problem or something newly found, it is an issue and still will be until there is complete equality for all.  

A Christmas Carol Essay.

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Of All 'Madame Web's Wild Choices, This One Is the Most Absurd

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The Big Picture

  • Madame Web suffered from numerous issues leading to box office disappointment.
  • The choice of A Christmas Carol in the film was odd given the summer setting.
  • The details and strange choices in Madame Web make it more unique than expected.

At this point, it's almost cruel to mock Madame Web . What is there to say about its haphazard ADR, the way it wasted Dakota Johnson , Adam Scott , and Sydney Sweeney , the confusing story elements as a result of its continuity with Sony's Spider-Verse movies , the exaggerated Pepsi product placement, and, of course, poor box office results and negative reactions from critics. The mockery started before the movie even came out , as the trailer's line, "he was in the Amazon with my mother when she was researching spiders just before she died," quickly became a meme, which even John Mulaney couldn't resist bringing up at the Oscars ! It's hard to make a movie, with a number of factors ready to go horribly wrong at any second. But there's one creative decision that Madame Web makes that truly will make you feel like that Charlie Day conspiracy theory gif: Why is Cassandra Webb watching A Christmas Carol in the summer?

Madame Web Newest Film Poster

Cassandra Webb is a New York City paramedic who starts to show signs of clairvoyance. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she must protect three young women from a mysterious adversary who wants them dead.

How Does Dakota Johnson’s Cassie Get to This Point in 'Madame Web'?

If you were too distracted by one of the many other bizarre elements in Madame Web , allow for this brief recap. After her second experience with her burgeoning superpowers, wherein Cassandra (Cassie) sees a vision of the death of her co-worker O'Neil ( Mike Epps ) come true, Cassie consults a doctor. The doctor tells Cassie that her tests are fine and that the visions she is having might be the result of trauma. The doctor recommends a week off with rest and "old movies." Cut to Cassie sadly curled up on the couch watching Alastair Sim 's 1951 version of A Christmas Carol . Interrupted by a voicemail from her paramedic partner Ben pleading for her to come to O'Neil's funeral, Cassie turns off the TV and begins to experiment with her precognition. It's almost normal. Almost.

A Christmas Carol is a timeless story with many adaptations, but the more you look at its appearance in Madame Web the stranger it becomes. First of all, it's the summer. No one is dressed in anything close to winter attire, there's not a hint of holiday decorations (in a famously festive city), and right before the death that she predicts, she's attending a barbecue . Not only that, there is a concrete tether to the summer with the birth of the famous character at the end. It is all but stated Peter Parker (the future Spider-Man) is the baby Ben Parker's sister-in-law Mary ( Emma Roberts ) gives birth to. How do we know Peter Parker was born in the summer? Because Sony told us! In a social media post from 2020 , Sony officially said Peter Parker's birthday is August 10th . Is it completely unheard of to watch a Christmas movie in the summer? No. But did this ramp up the absurdity of this movie and push it to the point of no return? Big yes.

Cassie Weirdly Bonds With Scrooge in 'Madame Web'

It's not uncommon for filmmakers to deliberately show a clip from a movie that ties into the plot or theme they're exploring. Field of Dreams , a movie in which Kevin Costner 's protagonist is deemed "crazy" by some, starts with his daughter watching Harvey , in which Jimmy Stewart is friends with an imaginary rabbit. In IF , a movie about imaginary friends, the main character's aunt watches Harvey . But it doesn't have to be Harvey ! On paper, A Christmas Carol is thematically linked to Madame Web. Both focus on a protagonist who sees a glimpse of the future and wonders if what they see is set in stone . Madame Web has Cassie directly respond to Scrooge's question, "Are these the shadows of things that must be? Or are they only shadows of things that might be?" by saying to her television set, "Hate to break it to you Scrooge, but...you can't change anything."

Before that line, it would be generous, but fair, to believe the inclusion of A Christmas Carol in this scene was decided in post-production for the reasons mentioned above. Perhaps the filmmakers intended something else, but this was what the studio gave them clearance for . Maybe the studio had the rights to the movie, so it was a cheap form of synergy? But this was not the case, as this is a United Artists movie which became a subsidiary of Amazon when they acquired MGM. Regardless, it was an intentional decision that Cassie specifically watch A Christmas Carol despite the more than implied summer setting . The doctor's line about "watch[ing] some old movies" may have been there entirely to justify this kind of movie. But we can let this go as a weird quirk because it was the best option to tie into the theme, right? There were no better options... right?

What Other Movies Would Make Sense for Cassie To Watch in 'Madame Web'?

Dakote Johnson as Cassie Webb looking frightened in Madame Web

If the film were set in contemporary times, Cassie could be nostalgically watching episodes of That's So Raven . But the movie is set in 2003 (the year That's So Raven premiered) and it might be a stretch for someone in their 30s to be watching a Disney show she didn't grow up with. (Plus, doctor's orders were to watch old movies!) Cassie was born in 1973 and might instead have a fondness for something that came out during her childhood. In 1983, when Cassie was 10, Christopher Walken starred in the Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone. While having nothing to do with spiders, Walken's character begins seeing visions of the future after an accident leaves him comatose. Throughout the film, Walken's character attempts to change the future he is seeing . But that's hardly relevant to Madame Web .

So what else is there? It's, unfortunately, a few years too early for Next , but Cassie might have enjoyed a campy Nicolas Cage movie. Minority Report wouldn't fit the doctor's prescription of "old movies" as it came out in 2002, but maybe the Madame was too busy being a paramedic when it was in theaters and could check out that fancy new DVD release. Final Destination 2 would also be a recent home video release by the summer of 2003 (it debuted theatrically in January that year), which means Cassie could have done a double feature about characters trying to escape death, which she spends the rest of the film trying to do for the young Spider-Women ( Celeste O'Connor , Isabela Merced , and Sydney Sweeney). There's even a reasonable explanation for watching A Christmas Carol if they had picked a different version!

Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web Deserved a Better Movie (1)

Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web Deserved a Better Marvel Movie

Dakota Johnson is innocent!

As it has been established, Madame Web 's Cassie is a child of the '70s. She is the perfect age to be a fan of The Muppets Show , which would have had its five-year run while Cassie was a child. She would have grown up as a young adolescent in the '80s with the releases of The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan . Maybe she was such a fan she even saw The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth in the late '80s. Canonically, she would have been 19 for the 1992 release of The Muppet Christmas Carol , but if she grew up a Muppets fan, she may have felt compelled to check out the latest entry. Sure, this is all a bit silly to consider and reason out, but it is far more conceivable that someone her age in need of movies to comfort watch might return to the films of her childhood and do a Muppet marathon in such trying times. They could even keep the same line exchange they have in this movie! Michael Caine asks Death basically the same question!

'Madame Web' Is More Than Just a "Bad Movie"

The technical disasters aren't that unique to Madame Web . It takes thousands of professionals working hard to make a movie right and even the best movies have technical flaws. It is certainly surprising a major studio would release a movie in this condition, but a studio mangling a movie in post-production is nothing new. Had it been given the chance to be properly finished, Madame Web may have been fine or only as bad as some of the lesser superhero movies of the early 2000s. But it's scenes and details like A Christmas Carol that make Madame Web just a little more unique than a lazy corporate cash grab. It's the kind of unexplained details that make less sense the more one unravels them — and, perhaps, makes it that much more fun.

Madame Web is available to watch on Netflix in the U.S.

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A Christmas Carol ( AQA GCSE English Literature )

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Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

Read the following extract from Chapter 2 of A Christmas Carol and then answer the question that follows.

In this extract, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge the Christmas party he attended at Mr Fezziwig’s warehouse when he was a young man.

5 But if they had been twice as many—ah, four times—old Fezziwig would have
been a match for them, and so would Mrs. Fezziwig. As to her, she was worthy
to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that’s not high praise, tell me
higher, and I’ll use it. A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig’s calves.
They shone in every part of the dance like moons. You couldn’t have predicted,
10 at any given time, what would have become of them next. And when old
Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance; advance and retire,
both hands to your partner, bow and curtsey, corkscrew, thread-the-needle, and
back again to your place; Fezziwig “cut”—cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink
with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.
15 When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs.
Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands
with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry
Christmas. When everybody had retired but the two ’prentices, they did the
same to them; and thus the cheerful voices died away, and the lads were left to
20 their beds; which were under a counter in the back-shop.
During the whole of this time, Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. His
heart and soul were in the scene, and with his former self. He corroborated
everything, remembered everything, enjoyed everything, and underwent the
strangest agitation. It was not until now, when the bright faces of his former self
25 and Dick were turned from them, that he remembered the Ghost, and became
conscious that it was looking full upon him, while the light upon its head burnt
very clear.
“A small matter,” said the Ghost, “to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.”
“Small!” echoed Scrooge.
30 The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out
their hearts in praise of Fezziwig: and when he had done so, said,
“Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or
four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?”
“It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously
35 like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render
us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a
toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and
insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The
happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

Starting with this extract, explore how Dickens presents ideas about joy and happiness in A Christmas Carol.

Write about:

  • how Dickens presents joy and happiness in this extract
  • how Dickens presents ideas about joy and happiness in the novel as a whole.

How did you do?

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Read the following extract from Chapter 3 of A Christmas Carol and then answer the question that follows.

In this extract, the Ghost of Christmas Present is about to leave Scrooge.

  The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.
“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at
the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself,
protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”
5 “It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply.
“Look here.”
From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful,
hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its
garment.
10 “Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.
They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but
prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their
features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand,
like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds.
15 Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing.
No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all
the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried
to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be
20 parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.
“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.
“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to
me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want.
Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on
25 his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!”
cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it
ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”
“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.
“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his
30 own words. “Are there no workhouses?”
The bell struck twelve.

Starting with this extract, explore how Dickens presents the suffering of the poor in A Christmas Carol .

  • how Dickens presents the suffering of the poor in this extract
  • how Dickens presents the suffering of the poor in the novel as a whole.

Read the following extract from Chapter 1 of A Christmas Carol and then answer the question that follows.

In this extract Scrooge is visited by Marley’s Ghost.

  Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and
yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is
5 its pattern strange to you?”
Scrooge trembled more and more.
“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil
you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves
ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”
10 Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself
surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.
“Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to
me, Jacob!”
“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied. “It comes from other regions, Ebenezer
15 Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men. Nor can I tell
you what I would. A very little more is all permitted to me. I cannot rest, I cannot
stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our
counting-house—mark me!—in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits
of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!”
20 It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful, to put his hands in
his breeches pockets. Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but
without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees.

Starting with this extract, explore how Dickens uses the ghosts to help Scrooge change his attitudes and behaviour.

  • how Dickens uses Marley’s Ghost in this extract
  • how Dickens uses the ghosts to help Scrooge change his attitudes and behaviour in the novel as a whole.

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  16. Sample Answers

    The message of the book is that we should help the poor at Christmas. Charles Dickens thought the rich people like Scrooge made a lot of money, but they did not care for others. This is because the Victorian times had a lot of poor people living in the cities and lots of children were orphans who were badly treated.

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