A Christmas Carol, Redemption Essay

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“The dominant theme in ‘A Christmas Carol’ is redemption.” –Do you agree?

In Charles Dickens’ perennially popular novella, ‘A Christmas Carol’ (1843), we encounter a world where serious social problems lurk beneath an otherwise imaginative and engaging narrative. Through exploring a world of fiction and fantasy, the author does not shy away from depicting the importance of maintaining ones basic humanity in times filled with rampant industrialism and social injustice. In fact, through miserly protagonist Ebeneezer Scrooge, Dickens manages to use redemption, whilst not a dominant theme in itself, to reinforce the social values he so firmly believed in. The importance of upholding ones social responsibility, of reflection and memory and of generosity and goodwill are all enforced throughout the allegory by the Ghost of Jacob Marley and the Spirits of Christmas he employs to see though Scrooges tri-temporal redemptive process. In thus constructing his narrative and the characters that bring it to an uplifting conclusion, Dickens is not only establishing his want for change in the social behaviours of Victorian London, but also his over-riding belief in the beauty of the human spirit.

Within ‘A Christmas Carol’, Scrooges redemption, as initiated by the Ghost of Jacob Marley, is central to Dickens’ message regarding the importance of social responsibility. In Stave One, Scrooge is initially described as a character with little care for those around him; he was a ‘squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, covetous old sinner… hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire’. He refuses to donate to ‘those who are badly off’ insisting that ‘if they would rather die’ than go to the cruelly overcrowded prisons and demeaning workhouses of 19th century London, ‘they had better do so, and decrease the surplus population’. The readership are exposed to a character who has become so detached from society that he feels his only...
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